Bernie Sanders Tops Democratic Rivals in New Hampshire Poll

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on Oct. 19, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

(CN) – Senator Bernie Sanders has taken a 3-point lead over Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, while 40% of voters continue to support President Donald Trump amid an accelerating impeachment process, according to a pair of polls released Tuesday morning.

In a poll from CNN and the University of New Hampshire, Sanders was back on top in the Granite State in what appears to be a tight three-way dance for the nation’s first 2020 primary, scheduled for Feb. 11.

Before the first primary, Democratic voters in Iowa will caucus for their state’s delegates on Feb. 3. The latest poll for Iowa, from Civiqs and Iowa State University conducted October 18-22, found that Warren had a strong lead at 28%, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 20%. Sanders had 18%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 12%.

The New Hampshire poll was conducted Oct. 21-27, in the week following the announcement of Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Sanders.

The poll, which surveyed 1,266 voters and has a 4.1-point margin of error, placed Sanders first with 21%, Warren with 18%, Biden with 15 % and Buttigieg with 10%, with the remaining candidates polling at 5% and below.

As New England’s top contenders, an ultimate victory for either Sanders or Warren is likely to require a win in the Granite State, which borders both candidates’ home states.

The biggest shift in the poll from New Hampshire University’s previous survey in July was that Biden dropped 9 points to lose the 5-point lead he had on both Sanders and Warren.

Despite the positive results for Sanders and Warren, 36% of respondents said Biden has the best chance of winning in the general election, compared to 18% and 14% for Sanders and Warren, respectively.

Another poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University and released Tuesday morning found that 40% of voters nationwide agreed with President Trump’s racially insensitive claim that the impeachment inquiry is a “political lynching.”

The poll, which was conducted in the four days after Trump’s Oct. 22 tweet, found that American voters were split 47% to 46% on whether Trump should be removed from office through impeachment, with a slim plurality against removal.

Despite the split, a 57% majority disagreed with the president’s characterization of the impeachment process.

Comparatively, support for Nixon never dropped below 40% among the entire electorate until about two years after the Watergate break-in. By the time Nixon resigned in August 1974, his support was still around 30% of all voters, according to an analysis of available polls by FiveThirtyEight.

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