Hillary Clinton’s debate performance is yielding positive results, at least in New Hampshire where the former secretary of state is now in a dead heat with democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), according to a new survey.
A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters revealed that the pair are in a deadlock: Clinton with 37 percent of the vote and Sanders with 35 percent (well within the +/-4.4 percentage point margin of error).
The results mark a reversal in pre-debate trends. Polls conducted prior to the debate had Sanders leading Clinton by substantial margins. For example a CNN/WMUR poll conducted in late September, had Sanders leading Clinton by 16 percentage points.
A majority, 54 percent, of primary voters who watched the first Democratic debate this week said Clinton was the victor, compared to just 24 percent who said Sanders won.
“Clinton’s willingness to engage Sanders on gun control established her progressive credentials,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, said in a statement. “And her debate performance solidified her standing with New Hampshire Democratic voters, who have her leading her closest rival for the first time since July.”
While New Hampshire residents appear to be warming up to Clinton, they still trust other candidates more than they trust her. Thirty-three percent said Sanders was the most trustworthy, 23 percent said Biden was, and 22 percent said Clinton was.
Despite trailing in the trust department, primary voters in the Granite State said Clinton was also the candidate was most likely to beat the GOP nominee. While 52 percent of voters said she had the best chance to win, just 16 percent said Sanders was and 14 percent said Biden was.
Voters who watched the debate expressed even more confidence in Clinton’s ability to win in the general election. Among those who watched, 60 percent said she had the best chance to win next November.
The poll of 500 likely voters in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary was conducted from October 14-15.