CNN Poll: Bernie Sanders Takes Commanding Lead In New Hampshire

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves goodbye at the conclusion of a campaign event in Perry, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

According to a new CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire, the Granite State primary is Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ race to lose. The Vermont Senator has taken a commanding lead in the key early state and enjoys the support of 25 percent of the electorate.

In the second place, nine percentage points behind Sanders, is former Vice President Joe Biden. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in third place, with 15 percent of the vote, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is inching closer to a single-digit territory, polling at 12 percent.

The poll reflects a trend seen across early states and in national polls, with Sanders surging, Warren plunging, and Biden remaining stagnant. Self-described liberals appear to have altered the dynamic of the race, migrating from Warren to Sanders, who now enjoys the backing of 39 percent of New Hampshire liberals, while 21 of them support Warren.

Sanders has also improved his standing among registered Democrats, and among women. The senator is backed by 29 percent of registered Democrats, and by 27 percent of New Hampshire women. Voters appear to have confidence in Sanders’ strength, given that 39 percent of them believe he will win the Granite State primary.

A lot could still change. According to the poll, nearly half of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters are undecided about who to support. However, Sanders’ supporters seem least likely to switch, since 37 percent of them plan on sticking with their candidate, as opposed to 17 percent of Biden supporters.

Health care and climate change are the top issues for Democrats across the country. This is the case in New Hampshire as well, where voters appear to trust Sanders, with 36 percent of them saying that they trust the Vermont senator to handle health care policy. Sanders’ closest competitor in that regard is Warren, who enjoys the trust of 14 percent of the electorate.

When it comes to the climate crisis, 30 percent of New Hampshire voters think Sanders is the best candidate. The senator is leading the field when it comes to gun policies as well. The electorate is divided when it comes to economic issues, however. Eighteen percent of New Hampshirites think Biden is best able to handle the economy, 17 percent think it is Sanders, and 16 percent Warren.

Sanders has also surged in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, where he holds a seven-point lead over Buttigieg, according to the latest polling. According to reports, Democratic insiders are now coming to terms with the fact that Sanders is the frontrunner, with some suggesting that the Democratic establishment needs to act quickly if they want to stop him.

According to Democratic strategist Michael Gordon, the head of Gordon Group, if the Democratic establishment “doesn’t go after him soon it’ll be too late. So do it now or else get in line and support him enthusiastically if he’s [the] candidate.”