In a very tight New Hampshire presidential primary race, Elizabeth Warren has lost ground since November, Joe Biden has gained, Bernie Sanders has a razor-thin lead, and the percentage of undecided voters has grown, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely Democratic voters in the Granite State.
Meanwhile, on the eve of a U.S. Senate trial on two articles of impeachment, slightly less than half of New Hampshire Democratic voters said that President Trump will not be reelected, while 35 percent expected him to win in 2020, and 14 percent were undecided.
The impeachment trial could handcuff the campaign schedules of Democratic Sens. Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bennet, and Sanders, who must serve as jurors on Capitol Hill during the critical weeks leading up to the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
In the poll, Sanders (16 percent) led former Vice President Biden (15 percent) followed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (12 percent), and Warren (10 percent). Businessman Andrew Yang had 6 percent, and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Klobuchar each had 5 percent. All other candidates received 3 percent or less, and nearly 24 percent were undecided.
Allegiance to the top-tier candidates has changed since a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll taken in November, with Biden gaining 3 points and Warren losing 4 points.
Male voters defect from Warren
Warren has lost support among men, with 4 percent favoring her now, down from 13 percent in November. Six other candidates had more support from men than Warren did in the January poll. Warren’s support among women was steady at 14 percent in the most recent poll, compared to 15 percent in November, and was second only to Biden and Sanders, each at 16 percent among Democratic women voters.
“Elizabeth Warren’s support has tanked because of men leaving her camp,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, despite last week’s dustup over whether or not Sanders told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency, 78 percent of those polled said a woman could beat Trump, and other female candidates like Gabbard and Klobuchar are getting more male support than female support.”
Both Warren and Sanders voters are showing somewhat diminished enthusiasm for one another’s favored candidate as a second choice, according to the poll. Some 32 percent of Sanders voters would rotate to Warren, down from 36 percent in November. Conversely, just 22 percent of Warren voters would choose Sanders as an alternative, down from 28 percent in November.
Overall, Buttigieg (15 percent) is now the top second choice in the field, followed by Warren (14 percent) and Sanders (12 percent).
Among the 33 percent of respondents who watched the televised CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic debate last week, Klobuchar (15 percent) and Buttigieg (14 percent) were seen as performing better than expected, while Warren (21 percent) and Biden (17 percent) were seen as performing worse than expected.
Most Democrats who favor Sanders (60 percent) say their minds are made up, followed by Buttigieg voters (48 percent), Warren voters (47 percent), and Biden voters (39 percent). Supporters of second-tier candidates appear to be bucking the historic trend of shifting to a top candidate. Eighty-one percent of Gabbard voters said their minds were made up, followed by 50 percent of Yang voters and 43 percent of Klobuchar voters. These figures are derived from statistically smaller subsets for these trailing candidates.
“This finding of strong loyalty to the lower-tier, boutique candidates suggests that 20 percent of the likely vote pie could be off the table for the top-tier candidates,” said Paleologos. “The leaders will vie for the largest share of the remaining 80 percent. Assuming no other candidates drop out, the bottom line is that – in an evenly split four-way race – 21 percent could be good enough to win New Hampshire.”
Of the top four candidates, Sanders voters show the least loyalty to the eventual Democratic nominee if the Vermont senator were not to represent the party in November. Seventy-six percent of Sanders voters said they will support the eventual nominee, while 24 percent would choose a third-party candidate, vote for Trump, skip voting or were undecided. Warren voters were the most loyal to the party, with 92 percent planning to vote for the eventual nominee. Among Yang voters, 54 percent would support the nominee, and 19 percent of Gabbard voters would do so.
The survey of 500 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters was conducted
Jan. 15 – 19 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, d[email protected].