Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in New Hampshire, a new poll has claimed.
According to Wednesday’s WBUR survey, Clinton currently commands a slim majority of support in the key battleground state, sitting two points ahead of Trump with 44 percent of the vote.
Yet that lead is well within the survey’s four percent margin of error, indicating the two presumptive presidential nominees are virtually deadlocked. Approximately 7 percent of state voters said they are still undecided.
Neither candidate is exceptionally well-liked in New Hampshire.
Wednesday’s survey, which was carried out by experts at MassINC Polling Group, revealed that a whopping 58 percent of state voters strongly dislike both Clinton and Trump.
Just 35 percent of New Hampshire voters hold a positive view of the Democratic front-runner. By contrast, Trump fares slightly worse at 33 percent.
“Very few people like either of them by comparison to other presidential candidates,” said Steve Koczela, the president of MassINC Polling. “So lots more people have a negative impression about them than a positive impression.”
Bernie Sanders, who claimed a decisive victory in New Hampshire’s February Democratic Primary, is polling far better.
According to researchers, 55 percent of likely general election voters across the state view the long-time independent favorably. Around 34 percent say they dislike Sanders.
If Sanders were to upset predictions by claiming the Democratic Party nomination in July, preliminary figures indicate he would pull off a relatively clean win against Trump in New Hampshire.
Wednesday’s poll gave Sanders a 16 point lead over Trump in a hypothetical match-up between the two presidential hopefuls, with Sanders bringing in 54 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 38 percent.
Koczela reckons the primary reason Sanders polls better in New Hampshire is because Hillary Clinton’s nomination comes hand-in-hand with a presupposed gender divide.
“Where Clinton was trailing by 17 points among men, Sanders and Trump are essentially even,” Koczela said. “Sanders does a bit better among women, but the big difference is that the gap among men just disappears.”
Yet, after securing a narrow win in Tuesday night’s contest in Kentucky, analysts say that Clinton has all but secured a win at this summer’s Philadelphia convention.
Factoring in the support of so-called superdelegates, Clinton now sits just 92 delegates away from the 2,383 needed in order to secure a nomination. By contrast, Sanders’ convincing win in Oregon on Tuesday has left him with a grand total of 1,528 delegates.
That being said, Sanders has already declared that he will fight Clinton until “the last ballot is cast,” and supporters are hopeful that the 74-year-old politician will still be able to steal the party’s general election ticket by convincing enough unpledged super delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention to drop Clinton as their candidate of choice.
Wednesday’s WBUR poll did not focus exclusively on the hypothetical scenarios surrounding the outcome of that Democratic contest.
Pollsters also quizzed voters about the possibility of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney entering the race as a third-party candidate.
One of Donald Trump’s loudest Republican critics, Romney actually polls exceptionally well among New Hampshire voters.
In a three-way match-up against Trump and Clinton, Romney brings in 20 percent of the vote, widening Clinton’s victory by pushing Trump down to just 30 percent.
Romney earned 46.4 percent of the popular vote in New Hampshire in 2012’s general election.
Although New Hampshire is widely considered contested voting territory, the Granite State has voted blue in five of the last six presidential election cycles.
MassINC conducted Wednesday’s poll last weekend by surveying 501 likely voters via their landlines and cellphones.
[Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images]