Suffolk Polling: Sanders in Front as New Hampshire Prepares to Vote

Followed by Buttigieg, with Klobuchar now running third in both bellwether and statewide tracking polls

Rolling surveys by Suffolk University in partnership with Boston Globe and WBZ-TV

The 2020 bellwether city of Dover, N.H., shows Bernie Sanders leading ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, according to a snap survey conducted by Suffolk University Feb. 7 -9.

Sanders (25 percent) led former mayor Pete Buttigieg (22 percent), a difference within the margin of error, followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (16 percent), former vice president Joe Biden (11 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (10 percent), and Andrew Yang (5 percent). All other candidates combined for less than 5 percent, and 6 percent were undecided.

About Bellwethers

Although bellwethers are not designed to depict actual margins, they have been remarkably accurate in predicting outcomes.

“A cautionary word or two: Past bellwether performance is a guide but not a one-hundred percent guarantee of future performance,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “New bellwethers often are created every election cycle as people migrate and as development- and geography-driven issues emerge. In addition, local endorsements from popular residents can skew margins.”

Historical precedent

In the past three contested New Hampshire Democratic presidential primaries, Dover results not only have predicted the statewide winner but also the correct order of finish. In addition, Dover’s results have been within 4 percent of each candidate’s final total in the statewide election.

“We’ll be watching the results of Dover tomorrow night to see if that city gave us an accurate indication of who will ultimately win statewide.”

Statewide results

Sanders significantly widened his lead over Pete Buttigieg on the final day of a weeklong Suffolk University statewide tracking poll of New Hampshire Democratic voters. Sanders (27 percent) led Buttigieg (19 percent), while Klobuchar (14 percent) pulled into third place, ahead of Biden and Warren, who each had 12 percent, according to the results for Sunday, Feb. 9. Other candidates were in single digits or less, and 7 percent were undecided.

The tracking polls leading up to the Feb. 11 presidential primary were conducted by Suffolk University in partnership with the Boston Globe and WBZ-TV and based on daily interviews of 250 likely Democratic voters. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website.

Bellwether methodology

Suffolk University interviewed 300 likely Democratic voters from a randomly selected list of Dover registrants. Phoning took place Feb. 7-9. All respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the Democratic primary on Feb. 11. The interviews were conducted by live telephone to cell and landlines. The margin of error for the 300 respondents is plus or minus 5.66 percent.

Tracking poll methodology

The statewide tracking survey of 500 likely Democratic primary voters consists of a two-day rolling average and includes only those respondents who indicated that they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the Feb. 11 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. The field was conducted Feb. 8-9 and is based on live telephone interviews. Each area’s quota and demographic informationincluding geography, gender, and agewere determined from the 2010 Census, 2018 American Community Survey, and exit polling from like elections. Samples of both standard landline (15 percent) and cell phones (85 percent) were called using a probability-proportionate-to-size method, which means that the phone numbers assigned to each county were proportionate to the number of likely voters expected based on similar open Democratic primaries in past elections. New Hampshire’s 10 counties were grouped into four general regions. Respondents in the household were selected by initially asking for the youngest adult. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Error margins increase for smaller subgroups in the cross-tabulation document that follows. All surveys may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,