Bernie Sanders Leads in New Hampshire as Pete Buttigieg Gains Traction: Poll

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walks onstage as he arrives for the eighth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by ABC News, WMUR-TV and Apple News at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on February 7, 2020. Joseph Prezioso / AFP/Getty

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is heading into the New Hampshire Democratic primary with a sizeable lead, but former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is right on his tail, according to a new CNN poll released in the final days preceding the primary vote.

Sanders earned a 28-percent share of the Democratic vote in New Hampshire in CNN's survey, which was conducted by the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center. This represents his largest showing in the state since April. Buttigieg, in second place, received the support of 21 percent of New Hampshire Democrats, his highest share since he entered the race.

At 11 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden followed in third place, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in fourth place at 9 percent.

According to the CNN survey, Warren was selected by the highest share of respondents—22 percent—as the next choice should their first-choice candidate fall short of the nomination. Within the margin of error, both Warren and Biden were selected by more respondents than any other challenger as candidates who could not earn their support "under any circumstance."

The primary vote, which will occur on Tuesday, marks the second primary selection in the 2020 campaign. On Monday, Iowa Democrats participated in a largely confounded caucus system that failed to accurately report vote totals in a timely manner.

Democrats fled from the imbroglio to New Hampshire without having determined a definitive winner or having resolved many of the irregularities that had beset the process.

Sanders won the most amount of raw votes after totals were finally tabulated.

Other polls have similarly documented Sanders' dominance in the Granite State, where, for months, Sanders has led the field. A RealClearPolitics average of New Hampshire polls indicates that, within the Democratic Party, he is up 4.2 percent over his next-highest ranking competitor.

An Emerson College survey, conducted through Friday, had Sanders at 31 percent, up 7 percent over Pete Buttigieg, again in second place.

Another recent survey, conducted by Suffolk University, put Buttigieg in the top spot, up 1 percent over Sanders.

Saturday's CNN poll was fielded between Tuesday and Friday, just before the party's most recent primary debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester Friday night.

The debate stage—which also included tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and billionaire Tom Steyer—largely featured back-and-forth volleys among the candidates about the right approach to defeating incumbent President Donald Trump.

"Unlike some of the folks up here, I don't have 40 billionaires, Pete, contributing to my campaign, coming from the pharmaceutical industry, coming from Wall Street, and all the big money interests," Sanders remarked during the debate, referring to Buttigieg.

For his part, Buttigieg made conspicuous moves not to engage in some intra-party tussling. When moderators asked about whether Hunter Biden, the vice president's son, would be a legitimate subject for congressional inquiry, the former Indiana mayor objected.

"We're not going to let them change the subject," he said. "This is not about Hunter Biden, or Vice President Biden, or any Biden. This is about an abuse of power by the president. The vice president and I and all of us are competing, but we've got to draw a line here."

Despite some of the CNN survey's more muddled results, Sanders is widely perceived as the favorite to win the state Democratic Party's nomination. Fifty-six percent of New Hampshire Democrats believe he will win, a sentiment which is up substantially since January, when it was at 39 percent. In the poll, Sanders was also perceived as having the best shot of beating Trump in November.

Bernie Sanders Leads in New Hampshire as Pete Buttigieg Gains Traction: Poll | Politics