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Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the clear front-runner in New Hampshire’s primary, according to a new Emerson College poll released Friday that shows him widening his lead over former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

Sanders registered 23 percent support among Democratic primary voters in the state, a slight drop from the 26 percent he carried in a similar poll conducted in November. But Buttigieg also fell from 22 percent support in November to 18 percent, giving Sanders a bigger lead. 

Rounding out the top four in New Hampshire are former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who tied for third place at 14 percent support each. 

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) saw a significant boost in support, jumping from 2 percent in the November Emerson poll to 10 percent in the one released Friday. Meanwhile, former tech executive Andrew Yang scored 6 percent, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) registered 5 percent and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer notched 4 percent support.

The poll of 657 New Hampshire Democratic primary voters comes a week after a Des Moines Register–CNN poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers put Sanders in the lead in the Hawkeye State.

The polling suggests Sanders has a chance to win both of the Democratic Party’s first two contests in the presidential nominating fight.

To be sure, Sanders will enter the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11 with something of an advantage. He represents neighboring Vermont in the Senate, and he won the New Hampshire primary in 2016 as he fought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sanders’s lead in New Hampshire is driven largely by voters under the age of 50, 28 percent of whom say they support the Vermont senator. He also performs well among the most progressive voters, scoring 34 percent among those who describe themselves as “very liberal,” according to the Emerson poll. 

Still, there are signs that the race in New Hampshire remains fluid. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that they could still change their mind ahead of primary day, while 47 percent said they are loyal to their candidate of choice.

The Emerson College poll surveyed 657 New Hampshire Democratic voters from Jan. 13 to 16. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

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