Poll: Bernie Sanders Surging, Hillary Clinton Cratering

Bernie Sanders
AP Photos

Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened a 22-point lead over Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, home of the nation’s first primary.

The new poll, from YouGov/CBS News Battleground, finds Sanders with 52 percent support among Democrats in the Granite State, far ahead of Clinton’s 30 percent support. Vice President Joe Biden, who is not yet a candidate, trails with 9 percent support.

In Iowa, the first caucus state to vote, Sanders has a solid 10 point lead over Clinton. Sanders has 43 percent, Clinton 33 percent and Biden has the support of 10 percent of Democrats. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose campaign has struggled to gain attention, has 5 percent.

In New Hampshire, Sanders beats Clinton in every age demographic. Among the youngest voters, though, he has a 62-point advantage over Clinton. Hillary Clinton does best among voters aged 45-64, but she still loses that group by 2 points.

Surprisingly, Sanders also best Clinton among women in New Hampshire. He leads Clinton by 11 points among female voters, long assumed to be an important foundation of support for Clinton. Among male voters, Sanders leads by 38 points.

Sanders also leads Clinton among women in Iowa. He leads Clinton by 52-points among the youngest voters, while Clinton beats him by 17 points among the oldest voters in the Hawkeye State.

Joe Biden leads both Clinton and Sanders as the preferred “second-choice” for voters in New Hampshire. Almost one-third of Democrats rank him as their second-choice, while 23 percent say Clinton and 12 percent name Sanders. This suggests that if Biden were to formally enter the race, there would be another reshuffling of the poll results. It is possible that Hillary Clinton would run third in New Hampshire.

There is more bad news for Hillary Clinton, though. Only 24 percent of Democrats said Clinton’s growing email scandal has affected their vote. In other words, there are other factors underlying the Democrat voter surge to Sanders. It is possible that the voter move to Sanders isn’t simply due to questions over Hillary Clinton, but rather enthusiasm for Sanders and his economic populist message. That suggests Hillary will have to shift much further to the left to quell the Sanders’ rebellion.

Hillary Clinton can no longer just assume that her difficulties are due to questions about her email use as Secretary of State. Even if those questions were magically put to rest this week, she is going to have to confront the rising Sanders more directly. He is soundly beating her across all Democrat groups.

Hillary supporters have long claimed they were well-prepared for a hypothetical primary fight. That hypothetical is now a reality.