Former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead has evaporated in New Hampshire, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders pulling ahead in what has clearly become a three-person Democratic primary race, a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll reveals.
Sanders would get 29% of the vote, followed by Biden at 21% and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 17%, if the primary were held today, according to the poll of 425 likely New Hampshire Democratic voters. The Democratic primary poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8%.
“It’s clear that Joe Biden needs to come back to the state and earn the voters trust again,” said pollster R. Kelly Myers of RKM Research and Communications, who conducted the poll.
The poll also shows that President Trump is in a commanding position in the GOP race, with 88% of 414 likely Republican primary voters saying they would back him. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld gets just 3% of the vote, followed by former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh at 1%.
Trump’s approval rating is at 47% among all likely primary voters in New Hampshire, about 10 points higher than it is nationally. Fifty-one percent disapprove of his job performance, the Franklin Pierce-Herald poll shows.
“They’re not as negative here as some national polls are suggesting,” said Myers. “But they’re still not where an incumbent president likes them to be.”
In the Democratic contest, Sanders’ move to first place comes as the candidates get set to tangle for the third time tonight in a nationally-televised, prime time debate.
Biden has held the lead in the national polls but the new Franklin Pierce-Herald survey, which was conducted Sept. 4-10, shows he is now clearly vulnerable in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Warren also has a ways to go before she can win New Hampshire, which is critical to her hopes of securing the nomination. Among likely women voters, Sanders and Warren are statistically tied, but among self-described liberals, Sanders holds a bigger lead over Warren, 31% to 16%, with Biden grabbing 20%.
“She (Warren) needs to be more competitive than she is now,” said Myers.
The rest of the field continues to lag farther behind in the Granite State. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has 6% support, while South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets just 5%.
One candidate who has moved up is entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is now at 5% support in the Franklin Pierce-Herald poll. Among self-described liberals, Yang’s support moves up to 10%.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke is free falling and now is at just 2% in the Franklin Pierce-Herald poll. U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro have just 1% support each.
One issue which may be having a small but significant impact on Warren is her past claims of Cherokee Indian ancestry, for which she has since apologized.
While 73% of likely Democratic primary voters say the issue has no effect on their vote, 15% say it makes them less likely to support her. Just 8% say it makes them more likely to back her.
Warren is viewed very or somewhat favorably by 77% of likely Democratic voters, and unfavorably by 16%. Biden is viewed favorably by 83%, while just 12% view him unfavorably. Eighty-two percent of likely Democratic voters say they have a favorable view of Sanders, and only 13% view him unfavorably.
The Granite State could have a major impact on the nomination race next year, but voters are still getting just an early look at the candidates. With six months to go before the primary, just a little more than 50% of all New Hampshire voters say they are “moderately” following the race closely, while 38% describe themselves as following the race “very” closely.
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