New Hampshire Poll: Sanders Pulling Nearly Even with Clinton

Bernie Sanders
The Associated Press

A new poll from New Hampshire indicates that Hillary Clinton’s popularity with large swaths of the Democratic Party has eroded, leaving an opening for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The WMUR/CNN Granite State Poll conducted between June 18-24 found Clinton amassing 43 percent of the vote, with Sanders breathing down her neck with 35 percent. Add in the margin of error of 5.2 percent, and Clinton’s lead could narrow even more, especially because 54 percent of respondents said they had not definitely decided which candidate they would select.

Vice President Joe Biden trailed far behind with eight percent of the vote, with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley drawing a paltry two percent and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb eliciting one percent.

The same poll conducted in May found Clinton receiving 51 percent of the vote, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren garnering 20 percent and Sanders 13 percent. But with Warren’s insistence that she will not run for the presidency, Sanders, has picked up her support. Last year, Clinton got 59 percent of the vote; Sanders, five percent.

The key issues dogging Clinton seem to be her reputation for dishonesty and her indifference to others; 28 percent of voters found her dishonest, as opposed to only two percent who felt that way about Sanders. Only 245 said Clinton cared the most among Democratic candidates, while a whopping 45 percent named Sanders.

Clinton outpolled Sanders 74 percent to 66 percent when it came to favorability, but also had an unfavorable rating of 19 percent, while only 11 percent of voters viewed Sanders unfavorably.

In an astonishing rejection, 41 percent of voters found Sanders more representative of the Democratic Party, while only 30 percent chose Clinton, the former Secretary of State.

Where Clinton polled the most strongly was the perception that she would be a stronger leader than Sanders; 56 percent of voters found Clinton stronger, while only 13 percent felt that way about Sanders. Clinton led on handling the economy, 37 percent to 28 percent, which was named as the top issue.

Clinton also led in dealing with terrorism, 45 percent to 12 percent, international trade policy, 55 percent to 14 percent; and health care, 43 percent to 27 percent. Sanders led on handling “big banks and corporations,” 36 percent to 31 percent.

Women preferred Clinton, 51 percent to 30 percent, but men chose Sanders, 42 percent to 32 percent.

Sanders, widely considered left of Clinton, has precedent for his challenge to a seemingly invulnerable candidate. In 1968, Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, also widely considered more left than his opponent, polled a startling 41.9 percent of the vote in the Democratic presidential primary, almost toppling President Lyndon Johnson, who polled 49.6 percent. In addition, because Johnson had refused to put his name on the ballot, forcing voters to write his name in, he had no control over the number of delegates allotted to him. McCarthy took 20 out of 24 delegate slots. Soon after, Johnson announced he would not seek reelection and withdrew from the race.