Trump, Biden on the rise in 2020 N.H. primary poll

  • FILE- In this June 7, 2017, file photo, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a conference in Athens. Biden is tiptoeing toward a potential run in 2020, even broaching the possibility during a recent gathering of longtime foreign policy aides. Huddled his newly opened office steps from the U.S. Capitol, Biden opened a planning meeting for his new diplomacy center by addressing the elephant in the room. He said he was keeping his 2020 options open, considering it a real possibility. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File) Petros Giannakouris

For the Monitor
Sunday, February 18, 2018

It may just be name recognition or nostalgia, but a new survey suggests support for Joe Biden is on the rise among likely 2020 Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire.

The University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll also indicates that President Donald Trump is consolidating support among Granite Staters likely to vote in the 2020 Republican primary.

Thirty-five percent of those likely to vote in the Democratic primary picked the former vice president when given a list of potential candidates to choose from for their party’s 2020 nomination. Biden’s support is up 11 percentage points from a previous Granite State poll conducted in October.

Twenty-four percent said they would choose Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, down from 31 percent since October. Sanders, an independent, won the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary in a landslide, launching him into a battle that lasted through the primary season until the nomination of Hillary Clinton .

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts won the backing of 15 percent, with everyone else listed in the low single digits or not registering at all.

Nearly 6 in 10 likely 2020 Democratic primary voters said they were undecided or couldn’t provide a name when asked a separate open-ended question about whom they would support. Ten percent backed Sanders in that question, with 8 percent supporting Biden and everybody else in the low single digits or not registering.

The survey also suggested a slight geographical factor.

“Likely Democratic voters who live in the Manchester area are more likely than others to support Biden,” UNH Survey Center pollster Andrew Smith said.

“Those who did not vote in 2016, those with a high school education or less, and self-identified independents are more likely to support Sanders, and Seacoast residents are more likely to support Warren,” Smith added.

One caveat: Take these extremely early polls in the presidential race with a good bit of caution. They are often heavily influenced by name recognition at this point in an election cycle.

Sixty percent of those likely to vote in New Hampshire’s next Republican presidential primary say they’d back Trump, up 13 points from October. Eighteen percent said they’d vote for another candidate, down five points from the previous poll.

“Last October, Trump had considerably weaker support among Republican primary voters than President Obama did among Democrats at the same point in the (2012) electoral cycle,” Smith explained.

“However, support for Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential cycle has increased to a similar level of support to what Obama enjoyed at the same point in his presidency,” he added.

The poll’s release came as two Democratic White House hopefuls visited the first-in-the-nation primary state. Julian Castro, the onetime San Antonio mayor and then Housing and Urban Development secretary during Obama’s second term, headlined a New Hampshire Young Democrats event in Manchester and met with students at Saint Anselm College on Friday.

And Let America Vote founder and former Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander is set to return to the state Tuesday to take part in a New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights phone bank. Kander has already visited the first-in-the-nation-primary state multiple times since the 2016 election.

Over the past year, several potential Democratic presidential contenders have visited the state, from Biden and Sanders to virtual unknowns such as congressman John Delaney of Maryland, the only declared Democratic candidate at this early point.

On the Republican side, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is scheduled to return to New Hampshire in April, as was first reported in the Monitor last month.

Kasich, who came in second in the 2016 New Hampshire GOP primary, never ended up backing Trump’s general election campaign and remains a fierce critic of the president. Kasich’s Granite State return will spark more speculation that he’s seriously considering a 2020 primary challenge against Trump.

The UNH Survey Center Granite State Poll was conducted Jan. 28-Feb. 10, with 523 randomly selected adults in New Hampshire questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.