Poll: Joe Biden Loses Frontrunner Status in New Hampshire, Slips Behind Bernie Sanders

Joe Biden speaks at the International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Washington on March 12.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden has fallen out of the lead in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary in the wake of a series of campaign missteps, losing his lead in the Granite State ahead of the first debates to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continues surging right behind both of them.

The new survey released on Tuesday afternoon from Crooked Media/Change Research shows Sanders has overtaken Biden in New Hampshire, leading the former Vice President 28 percent to 24 percent in the state, while Warren, who represents nearby Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, is coming up just behind them at 21 percent.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is next at 14 percent, then former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) at four percent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at three percent, while Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK) all come in at one percent.

The poll was conducted from June 17 to June 20, a timeframe during which Biden took significant heat from the media and his Democrat opponents for praising long-dead segregationists within his own party in an attempt to harken back to what he portrays as a better time in American politics when people who disagreed could work together. The problem with Biden’s analogy, for which he has refused to apologize, is that these segregationists were fellow Democrats–so his argument of “bipartisanship” does not work.

The poll surveyed 935 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Change Research also surveyed 935 Democratic primary voters in both Iowa and South Carolina, with margins of error of 3.1 percent apiece, as well–but Biden still led in both of those other early presidential states.

In Iowa, Biden’s 27 percent still tops the field for now–but in second place is Warren at 20 percent. Sanders is down in third at 18 percent, while Buttigieg is next with 17 percent.

In South Carolina, Biden’s 39 percent is even more of a towering lead. Warren, also in second in South Carolina, is next with 15 percent, while Sanders is third with 13 percen, and Buttigieg is fourth with 11 percent.

What’s more, Biden’s position in the two states he leads as well as the one where he is in second place is even further weakened by the poll’s combined revelation that most of the people backing Biden now are not paying close attention to the race at this time. Among those following the race very closely, Biden is only barely ahead of Warren. As more people start paying attention, it seems, Biden’s position will likely soften more and more.

Crooked Media/Change Research wrote in its analysis of the combined South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire samples’ data”

Biden has a strong lead among voters who aren’t following the Democratic primary closely at all or aren’t following too closely, polling at 42% and 41% respectively in those two groups. The race is closer among those who are following the primary somewhat or very closely. In the ‘following somewhat closely’ group, Biden leads narrowly with 22% over Sanders’ 21%, and in the ‘following very closely’ group, he leads with 26% followed by Warren at 23%.

This New Hampshire poll is the first in any battleground or early state where Sanders has taken a lead over Biden. Another poll recently done in Minnesota, both an important state for the Democratic primaries and a general election battleground state, showed Warren surging past Biden there.

It remains to be seen how candidates will handle Biden during the debates this week. Biden will appear on the second night–Thursday evening–in Miami on NBC’s debates, alongside Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, and others. Warren and O’Rourke will appear on the first night, Wednesday evening, separated from Biden.

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