Having finished neck-and-neck at the top of the controversial Iowa caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the leading competitors in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. The apparent Iowa tie seems to have helped both candidates surge ahead of their competition.
According to a new CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, Buttigieg has surged, but Sanders has managed to maintain a formidable lead. According to the poll, Sanders is at the top of the field with 28 percent of the vote. Polling at 21 percent, Buttigieg is in second place.
Both candidates have gained ground largely at the expense of their competitors. Buttigieg appears to be cutting into former Vice President Joe Biden's support among older voters -- the former South Bend mayor is up eight points among voters age 45 and older. The young Democrat has also managed to eat into Biden's support among conservatives and moderates, surging six points among that demographic group.
Sanders' New Hampshire numbers have been steady since the beginning of the primary, but he appears to be solidifying his support among voters younger than 45 and voters who identify as liberal. The Vermont senator is up eight points among younger voters and 10 points among liberal voters. The shift among liberals came at Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's expense.Both Biden and Warren have plunged. The former vice president is polling at 11 percent and the Massachusetts Democrat is at nine percent. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is in fifth place, polling at six percent and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in sixth, with five percent of the vote. Billionaire Tom Steyer is at three percent, along with entrepreneur Andrew Yang. A majority, 56 percent, of likely primary voters in the Granite State expect Sanders to win the race.
Although Sanders and Buttigieg have separated themselves from the pack, the race still seems volatile, with roughly half of likely primary voters saying that they have still not made up their minds about whom to support. Among such voters, 21 percent say they are leaning toward Buttigieg and 19 percent say they are leaning toward Sanders.
During the debate on Saturday night, Sanders and Buttigieg sparred over campaign contributions. The Vermont senator, who relies exclusively on grassroots support, attacked the former South Bend Mayor for accepting campaign contributions from billionaires, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry.
"Unlike some of the campaigns up here, Pete, I don't have 40 billionaires funding my campaign coming from the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street," Sanders told Buttigieg.