Pete Buttigieg Closes Gap on Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Could Pull Off Another Surprise: Poll

Fresh polling shows Pete Buttigieg closing in on Sen. Bernie Sanders' New Hampshire primary lead ahead of Tuesday's vote, with his team hoping that the former South Bend, Indiana mayor can deliver another surprisingly strong performance.

The final daily 7 News/Emerson College New Hampshire tracking survey was released Sunday, showing that Sanders has maintained a healthy lead with 30 percent of voters.

Buttigieg—who narrowly defeated Sanders in the Iowa caucuses—is second in New Hampshire on 23 percent. Sen. Amy Klobachar is third on 14 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren in fourth on 11 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden lagging in fifth on 10 percent.

Sanders' support has consistently hovered around the 30 percent mark over the past week, 7 News/Emerson College daily polling has shown. Buttigieg suffered a four point drop in support earlier in the week, but from Saturday to Sunday gained three points to cut Sanders' lead.

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Spencer Kimball, Emerson College Polling's director, said the last survey indicates that Buttigieg "could still pull off a New Hampshire surprise," despite Sanders' lead.

"Klobuchar continues to move up, but she still trails the top two candidates by a significant margin," Kimball added. "Warren and Biden could still get as high as third but today's data had them going in the wrong direction."

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The poll surveyed 500 registered Democratic and independent likely voters with a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

Thirty one percent of those surveyed said they may still change their mind about who to vote for on Tuesday.

Sanders fans appear the most committed, with 85 percent of his likely supporters saying they will definitely vote for him. This was true of 59 percent of Buttigieg's likely backers.

Sanders has maintained strong support among voters under 50 years old—Sunday's figures showed him leading the demographic with 42 percent support ahead of Buttigieg on 24 percent. But the Vermont senator trails Buttigieg by 19 to 23 percent among voters aged 50 and above.

Predictably, Buttigieg does not fare well among "very liberal voters." Sanders leads this group with 54 percent support followed by Warren on 21 percent. Buttigieg did not break double figures among this demographic.

Buttigieg has positioned himself as a moderate and a candidate that can unite the party against President Donald Trump's nationalist administration. Among "somewhat liberal" voters, Buttigieg has 29 percent of voters to Sanders' 32 percent. The 38 year old fares best among "moderate" or "conservative" voters with 28 percent support versus 14 percent for Sanders.

Regardless of how they intend to vote, a plurality of those surveyed—44 percent—expect Sanders to eventually win the Democratic nomination. Sixteen percent believe it will be Buttigieg and 14 percent Biden.

Most—85 percent—believe that whoever wins Tuesday's primary will go on to defeat Trump and become the next president.

Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, New Hampshire, primary
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at a rally at Elm Street Middle School February 09, 2020 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty
Pete Buttigieg Closes Gap on Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Could Pull Off Another Surprise: Poll | Politics