Looking at the Democratic presidential contest in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 58%, outdistances former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 38%, among likely Democratic primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who have voted absentee. Sanders’ lead in the Granite State is virtually unchanged from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll conducted prior to the Iowa caucus. Last week, Sanders led Clinton by 19 points, 57% to 38%.
Sanders is ahead among almost all key voting groups. But, his lead is fueled by remarkable support among the state’s younger likely Democratic primary voters including younger women. Sanders receives the support of 76% of likely Democratic voters under 30. He is backed by 72% of those under 45 years of age including a 29 point lead over Clinton among women in this age group. His strong showing among these voters was a big factor in the competitiveness of the Iowa caucus last week where he was backed by 84% of those under 30, according to the Edison Research Entrance Poll. Clinton leads among women over 45 where she is ahead by nine points. Sanders is also ahead among independents likely to vote in the Democratic primary by 43 points. Among Democrats, he narrowly leads by 5 points. Among likely Democratic primary voters who self-identify as very liberal or liberal, Sanders outpaces Clinton by 27 points, up 7 points from the previous poll. His lead among moderates is 8 points, down from 18.
“As their rivalry intensifies, Sanders and Clinton are turning up the heat,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, so far in New Hampshire, it’s all Sanders as Clinton faces an uphill fight.”
When it comes to intensity of support, 79% of likely Democratic primary voters with a candidate preference including absentee voters strongly support their choice. Among Clinton’s supporters, 80% have a high level of commitment to her while a similar proportion of Sanders’ backers, 77%, express the same level of support for him. Three percent are undecided, and 6% say they might vote differently on Primary Day.
President Barack Obama’s job performance continues to receive low marks from New Hampshire residents. 43% approve of how President Obama is doing his job, the same score he received in the state late last month. 83% of likely Democratic primary voters approve of the job the president is doing in office.