Sanders, Trump lead New Hampshire polls

NASHUA – New polls show a plurality of New Hampshire Democrats support Bernie Sanders for the 2020 presidential nomination, while a majority of Granite State Republicans would vote to renominate President Donald Trump.

If successful, Sanders and Trump would repeat as New Hampshire primary winners for their respective parties, as both claimed victories in 2016.

Officials at the University of New Hampshire Survey Center used both landline and cellphones to poll 604 randomly selected Granite State adults from Feb. 18-26. This poll differs from an earlier Saint Anselm College survey in that it actually asked respondents to identify a preferred candidate. The prior poll only asked if voters had a favorable view of candidates.

Democratic Data

Sanders, an independent member of the U.S. Senate from Vermont, won the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary over Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, Sanders signed a “loyalty pledge” to serve as a Democrat if elected president.

When given a list of candidates and asked who they would support, 26 percent of New Hampshire Democrats selected Sanders.

In second place is former Vice President Joe Biden, who checked in at 22 percent. Biden did not run in 2016, but seems more likely to do so now that Clinton officially declared this week that she will not be a candidate for president in 2020.

In a somewhat distant third place behind Sanders and Biden is U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who registered 10 percent. The California senator has quickly established herself as one of the early national frontrunners in this race.

After the top three, those registering in the UNH poll finished as follows:

• U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 7 percent;

• Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, 5 percent;

• U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., 4 percent;

• U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., 3 percent;

• South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 1 percent;

• U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, 1 percent;

• U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., 1 percent; and

• U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, 1 percent.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also registered at 1 percent, but he announced on Tuesday that he would not run. The remainder of respondents either said they were undecided, or picked someone who registered less than 1 percent.

Also, despite the fact Warren hails from neighboring Massachusetts, 13 percent of Democratic survey respondents said they would not vote for her under “any circumstances.”

Republican Report

Polls show that any Republican hoping to challenge Trump in the GOP primary begins with a disadvantage, though perhaps not an insurmountable one. This is because 57 percent of likely Republican primary voters responding to the survey said they had yet to decide which candidate to support in 2020.

Still, when given a list of candidates from whom to select, 68 percent of GOP voters said they would pick Trump. Finishing a distant second in this poll was former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who also placed second in the Granite State in 2016. Kasich, who is now working as a TV pundit and has not declared a candidacy, received 17 percent of the support from this poll.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is exploring a bid against Trump, received 3 percent in the poll. The poll did not include current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is reportedly considering a challenge to Trump.