New poll: Buttigieg has clear lead in N.H.

  • Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a fund-raising fish fry for U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall

  • Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds up the paper he signed to be placed on the New Hampshire primary ballot, at the Statehouse, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

For the Monitor
Published: 11/19/2019 5:38:29 PM

Pete Buttigieg has a double-digit lead over his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a newly released poll of voters in New Hampshire.

The survey – from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center – comes three days after a poll in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa showed the South Bend, Ind., mayor with a clear advantage over the other top-tier contenders.

According to the new poll, which was released Tuesday, 25% of likely Democratic presidential primary voters in New Hampshire said they supported Buttigieg. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts were tied for second at 15%.

The survey indicated Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire’s 2016 Democratic presidential primary, at 9%. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota registered at 6% in the poll, with billionaire environmental and progressive advocate and grassroots organizer Tom Steyer at 5%. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii were each at 3% and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang was at 2%. Everyone else tested in the survey stood at 1% or less.

The 37-year old Buttigieg – the youngest candidate in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls – was once the longest of long-shots for the nomination. But he surged in the spring and he soared again this autumn to reach the top-tier of contenders.

He’s skyrocketed 15 percentage points since the previous Saint Anselm College poll, which was conducted in September. Warren plunged 10 points since the previous poll, with Biden nose-diving 9 points.

“With less than three months before the primary, the race for New Hampshire’s Democratic delegates is still in a great deal of flux,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

A Quinnipiac University Poll in New Hampshire conducted earlier this month suggested Biden with a slight edge over his rivals while a University of New Hampshire/CNN poll conducted late last month gave Sanders the advantage.

Levesque emphasized that in the Saint Anselm poll, “Buttigieg’s bump is driven by the favorable impression he’s made on voters, with 76 percent having a favorable impression of him versus only 11 percent unfavorable.”

Buttigieg’s net favorability of 65 percent easily bests his top rivals for the nomination.

But the reputation of New Hampshire voters as late deciders is reflected in the survey. Thirteen percent said they remain undecided and of those who are backing a candidate, only 36% say they’re firm in their choice. If voters do change their minds, Warren may benefit. She topped the list for the second choice at 23%.

The poll’s release comes with 2½ months until the Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential nominating calendar, followed eight days later by the New Hampshire primary.

The Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll was conducted Nov. 13-18, with 255 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s sampling of error is plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.

The poll’s release comes days after former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick jumped into the Democratic presidential nomination race. He stood at less than 1% support in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

The poll also indicates more than three-quarters of those questioned said they would discourage former New York City mayor and billionaire business and media mogul Mike Bloomberg from launching a bid. Ninety-one percent said they would discourage 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from running again. But more than four in 10 said they would encourage former first lady Michelle Obama to run.

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