Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is officially the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic primary, judging by a new poll of New Hampshire voters.
MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki tweeted the results of the poll Thursday afternoon, which was conducted by the University of New Hampshire between February 18 and February 26. The sample of 604 primary voters was nearly an even split between Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
Among Democratic challengers, Sen. Sanders was comfortably ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden by a margin of 26 percent to 22 percent. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) came in third place with 10 percent of respondents favoring her, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) came in fourth place with seven percent. Other candidates like South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) did not get more than one percent apiece.
Among New Hampshire Republicans, President Trump was the clear favorite, with 68 percent choosing him over ex-governors John Kasich and Bill Weld, the latter of whom has launched an exploratory committee.
New NH primary polling (UNH)
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) February 28, 2019
The poll is good news for Sanders, though not surprising, given his dominance in the 2016 Democratic primary. In his initial run for the presidency, Bernie Sanders demolished Hillary Clinton with 60 percent of the vote to her 38 percent. But the poll noted that the trend was toward Sanders, with the Vermont senator outpacing Biden in favorability between February 2018 and February 2019.
However, the New Hampshire primary is still one of the most influential in the country, as it’s the first official presidential primary in the nation (Iowa is the first caucus) and traditionally has a strong influence in determining polling position and fundraising advantage throughout the remainder of the election cycle. It can also doom a candidate’s campaign depending on their performance. In the state’s Republican primary, for example, both Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina dropped out of the race after dismal performances in New Hampshire.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.