Poll on Eve of Iowa Caucus Puts Sanders Ahead in New Hampshire

BOSTON (CN) — Senator Bernie Sanders has opened a decisive lead in New Hampshire as voting begins in Iowa, a Monday poll from Emerson College shows.

The poll of 500 Granite State voters gave Sanders 29%, about double what former Vice President Joe Biden has in second place with 14%, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 13% and Senator Elizabeth Warren with 12%. Senator Amy Klobuchar is in a distant fifth place with 8%.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles and waves while seated in front of an audience in Concord, New Hampshire,  before the start of a forum broadcast via public radio on Jan. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The poll has a 4.3% margin of error leaving a second-place finish up in the air for Biden, Buttigieg and Warren.

The poll was conducted over three days, Jan. 31–Feb. 2, with just over a week before New Hampshire holds the first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The poll results show that Sanders is strengthening his lead since mid-January when an Emerson College poll placed the Vermont senator at 23%. That shift may have come at the expense of Buttigieg, who dropped 5 points. Warren dropped 2 points, while Biden’s support leveled at 14%.

Sanders’ level of support jumps to 38% among poll respondents younger than 50, while Biden dropped to 5%. Buttigieg and Warren showed little change with 11% and 13%, respectively.

Among voters older than 50, Biden leads with 24% ahead of Sanders at 20%. Buttigieg got 15% to Warren’s 10% among the older voters, while Kolbuchar jumped to 12%.

Voters are still split, 55-46, on whether their decision was based on their candidate’s ability to defeat President Donald Trump and the issues, though there was a small shift toward electability since the Jan. 17 poll that found a 51-49 split in favor of electability.

The majority of respondents were white, at 86%.

Registered Democrats accounted for 60% of those polled, while the remaining 40% were unaffiliated. All said they were at least somewhat likely to vote in the Democratic primary. Almost half of those polled said they supported Sanders in 2016 with 48%, while 30% said they voted for Hillary Clinton.

The first primary caucus takes place tonight in Iowa, though 87% of those polled said that the results of the Iowa Caucus would not influence their decision.

Going into the Iowa Caucuses, Emerson College had Sanders leading among Hawkeye State voters with 28%, followed by Biden at 21%. Buttigieg had 15% and Warren had 14%, while Klobuchar was the only other double-digit candidate with 11%.

That poll, which was released Sunday, was conducted over the period as the latest New Hampshire poll, among 853 voters with a 3.3% margin of error.

Nationally, Biden is still the frontrunner.

Morning Consult released their latest national poll on Monday, which included 15,259 Democratic primary voters.

Biden holds the lead with 28% to Sanders’ 24%, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Warren are tied at 14%. Bloomberg, who has already sunk over $200 million of his own funds into the campaign is skipping the Iowa and New Hampshire, with his eyes on Super Tuesday, March 3.

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