Poll Shows Biden, Sanders & Warren as NH Big Three

Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey

58 percent of NH Democratic voters say they could change their preference before primary

Former Vice President Joe Biden (21 percent) leads Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders (17 percent) and Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (14 percent) in New Hampshire, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely Democratic voters in the Granite State, with other candidates following in single digits and nearly 21 percent undecided.

Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris was favored by 8 percent of those polled; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 6 percent; and U. S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by 3 percent of respondents, with 10 percent divided among 19 other Democratic candidates.

“In New Hampshire, the dominance of front-runner Biden and local favorites Sanders and Warren will make it very difficult for another candidate to break into the top three in the nation’s first presidential primary,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

However, 58 percent said that they may change their minds before the February 2020 New Hampshire primary.

In the Media

Boston Globe: Biden, Sanders, and Warren top post-debate survey of N.H. Democrats 

Graphic: See key results from the Suffolk/Globe poll

Biden ran up big leads among voters over 65 years of age, where his 28 percent share led both Sanders and Warren (tied at 15 percent). He also was favored by voters who chose Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary; 34 percent of Clinton primary voters chose Biden, while 14 percent preferred Warren.

Of those who watched last week’s CNN debates, 15 percent said that Warren and N.J. Sen. Cory Booker did better than expected, and 14 percent saw Gabbard and Biden rising above expectations. On the flip side, 27 percent perceived Biden and 19 percent saw Harris as underperforming.

The importance of No. 2

When Granite State Democratic primary voters were asked about a second choice, 21 percent indicated Warren, well ahead of Biden and Sanders, both tied at 13 percent.

“Although polls are a snapshot in time, the second choices among Democratic voters is a forward-looking indicator as other candidates drop out,” said Paleologos. “In a Suffolk Iowa poll of Democratic voters taken in June, Harris (17 percent) and Warren (16 percent) were the second-choice leaders. However, in New Hampshire, Warren owns that category well ahead of the others.”

Party loyalty

When voters were asked whom they would vote for in the general election if their first choice did not become the Democratic nominee, 81 percent said they would vote for the Democratic candidate, while 5 percent would vote for President Trump, 4 percent would vote for a third-party candidate, 3 percent would skip voting in November, and 7 percent weren’t sure.

Elizabeth Warren voters were the most loyal to the party, with 96 percent saying they would support the Democratic nominee. Sanders and Gabbard voters were the least loyal, with 74 percent and 56 percent respectively saying they would stick with the Democratic nominee.

In the 2016 New Hampshire general election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 46.8 percent of the vote, and Donald Trump received 46.5 percent, with 6.7 percent of voters picking a third-party or other candidate.

Winnowing the field

A majority of voters (62 percent) said they would like to see candidates drop out of the race if they do not qualify for the September televised debates.


Voters believe “Medicare for All” (85 percent), the Green New Deal (68 percent) and impeaching President Trump (60 percent) are issues important for the Democratic nominee to support.


The survey of 500 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters was conducted Aug. 1 – Aug. 4 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they intended to participate in the February 2020 New Hampshire Democratic Primary. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

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