According to a new poll released today by Monmouth University Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) now holds a large lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the key early primary state of New Hampshire. The poll gives Sanders a 14 point lead over Clinton in New Hampshire, the largest lead Sanders has had over Clinton in any poll over the last three months.
According to the poll Sanders currently has 53 percent support in New Hampshire, compared to 39 percent for Clinton. Martin O’ Malley comes in a distant third with 5 percent support.
The Monmouth poll was conducted from January 7th-January 10th, 2016. The sample includes 413 likely Democratic Primary voters in New Hampshire. That is a fairly small sample, and the poll has a large margin-of-error equal to +/- 4.8 percentage points, but Sanders would still be winning the poll even if Clinton was given the benefit of the margin of error.
Analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight gives Monmouth an A- rating in his ranking of pollsters based on partially on Monmouths’s performance over 31 released surveys.
The poll matches up well with a Fox News poll released in early January that showed Sanders with a 13 point lead in New Hampshire. However, the poll does not mesh well with a an ARG poll released yesterday that showed Sanders had just a 3 point lead in New Hampshire. A PPP poll released on January 6th had Clinton with a 3 point lead in New Hampshire. Overall, a Real Clear Politics average of five polls released over the last week has Sanders leading with 48.8 percent support compared to 42.6 percent for Clinton.
The poll will add to the perception that Sanders is gaining momentum in the final weeks before the early state contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Recent polls have the Iowa race now neck and neck with Clinton’s once dominant lead in the state dwindling. Most pollsters now have Sanders leading in New Hampshire, and some, like Monmouth, give Sanders a double digit lead.
Clinton has been the presumptive favorite in the Democratic Party primary race from the beginning, and she still has a significant advantage in super delegates and endorsements. Clinton still holds a double digit lead in national polls of Democratic voters. In addition, Clinton has 457 official endorsements compared to just 3 for Sanders. However, if Sanders can manage to win Iowa, or even finish a close second, and also win New Hampshire those victories would throw the race wide open, and perhaps even make Sanders the favorite heading into Super Tuesday.