A new poll released today from Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University has Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) leading over fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the key primary state of New Hampshire. Many polls have had Sanders closing in on Clinton, but this is the first poll to have Sanders leading Clinton. It has long been assumed by many political analysts that Clinton was assured the Democratic Party nomination, but a win for Sanders in New Hampshire could throw doubt on that narrative moving forward. Full details on the poll, including a breakdown of the sample. Can be read below. For more polling updates throughout the 2016 presidential election follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
The Overall Results
The poll has the following breakdown of support for Democratic Party presidential candidates in New Hampshire:
Bernie Sanders (44 percent)
Hillary Clinton (37 percent)
Joe Biden (9 percent)
Jim Webb (1 percent)
The Poll Sample
The Boston Herland/FPU poll was taken from August 7-10. The poll includes 42 “randomly selected likely Democratic presidential primary voters.” The sample includes individuals with landline and cellular telephones. The sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.
The poll sample is in line with other primary state polls. The inclusion of only “likely Democratic presidential primary voters” may restrict the sample greatly. There are reasonable grounds to believe that turnout may be greater in this presidential election with the inclusion of female candidate who has a realistic chance of winning.
What Other Polls Say
A Real Clear Politics average of four polls taken over the last month has Clinton leading Sanders by three points in New Hampshire.
For example, a Gravis Marketing poll released in early August has Clinton with the support of 43 percent of voters in New Hampshire, compared to 39 percent for sanders.
What the Poll Means
While the poll is a “shocker” in the sense that it has Sanders in the lead for the first time, it is well in line with other polls which has shown Sanders consistently gaining on Clinton, especially in New Hampshire which happens to border Sanders home state of New Hampshire.
It is worth noting that the poll includes Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is reportedly still not decided on whether he will run in 2016. If Biden does run it will likely split off some of the support for Clinton, as is shown in this poll. If Biden decides not to run much of his support may go to Clinton, since both are more establishment candidates who appeal to more moderate voters than does Sanders.
Clinton still has a significant advantage over Sanders in the long term race for the Democratic Party nomination. Clinton has higher name recognition nationally, more money, and experience on the national stage that Sanders currently lacks. Sanders is likely aided in this poll by his high name recognition within New Hampshire, and the tendency of New Hampshire voters to buck the national trends in their primary. These facts should be kept in perspective before people start appointing Sanders as the frontrunner in the race.
Still, the poll shows that the Sanders momentum is real, at least in some parts of the country. In addition, if Sanders was able to win New Hampshire over Clinton it would give him more exposure nationally and could make him more of a threat in other, bigger primary states later in the election cycle.