Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in stunning new 2016 poll

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US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has surged to a lead over Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll out late Tuesday night.

The poll gives Sanders a 44-37 lead over Clinton in the run for the Democratic nomination in the state.

It signals that Clinton will face a tougher-than-expected challenge in the important first-primary state, as voters in the Granite State remain unenthusiastic about her candidacy.

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Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in stunning new 2016 poll
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According to the poll, just 35% of New Hampshire Democratic voters said they are "excited" about Clinton's campaign. And 38% of Democrats have a "very favorable" impression of Clinton (though eight in 10 Democrats do view her favorably in general).

All of Clinton's numbers have plunged significantly since March, when Franklin Pierce University last surveyed the Granite State. In March, 50% of Democratic voters in the state viewed her "very favorably."

And Clinton held a 25-point lead in the state in the March poll over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who is not running for president. Sanders garnered just 8% of the vote in March. Meanwhile, more than half of New Hampshire Democrats have a "very favorable" impression of Sanders, who has been seeing swelling crowds at events across the nation.

The poll grabbed the attention of many political analysts as a fresh sign of Clinton's potential weaknesses as a candidate.

"Clinton is in free fall, and leaders of the party agree that Sanders would lose at least 49 states in the general election," said Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist at the Potomac Research Group. "So the speculation will intensify -- starting today -- that Joe Biden may have to save the party from a debacle."

Photos of Bernie Sanders from over the years:

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Bernie Sanders through the years
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Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in stunning new 2016 poll
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during an event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. With a week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic presidential race there in a virtual dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are mapping out divergent paths toward winning the first votes of the nomination process. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bernie Sanders takes the oath of office as mayor in Burlington, Vt., April 6, 1981. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Donna Light, File)
Bernie Sanders holds a rally to kick off his run for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt. in this Sept. 16, 1988, file photo. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Bernie Sanders celebrates his victory in the race for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt., in this Nov. 6, 1990 photo. (AP Photo/Rob Swanson)
Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference in Montpelier, Vt., Monday, Dec. 1, 2003. Sanders says Vermonters and all Americans need to know just how bad the new Medicare bill is that just passed Congress. Sanders says that the prescription drug portion of the bill will end up paying only about 20 percent of a senior citizen's drug costs. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, left, takes the stage with Representative Bernie Sanders, I-VT, at the Vermont Democratic party election night headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, at the Wyndham Hotel in Burlington, Vt., after declaring victory. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)
Washington, UNITED STATES: Newly-elected senators meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R), D-NV, in Washington, DC 13 November 2006. From left are: Senator-elect James Webb, D-VA, Senator-elect Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Reid. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Sanders smiles as he campaigns in Burlington, Vt., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
US Congressman Elliot Engel (L) takes pictures next to US Senator Bernie Sanders after being dressed as Bouale leaders by public notaries of the Kouadioyaokro village, 150 km from Abidjan, 09 November 2008. US Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders visit comes ahead of a July 2008 certification deadline to ensure cocoa heading to the United States -- the third largest importer of Ivorian cocoa -- has not been produced with child labour. AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., left, confers with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., center, and Senate subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Chairman Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, during a joint hearing to discuss Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) progress on implementing the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force recommendations and other safeguards related to nuclear facilities. (AP Photo)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, second from left, speaks with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., second from right, at Fort Belvoir, Va., Thursday, August 7, 2014, before the arrival of President Barack Obama to sign into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, a $16.3 billion measure allowing the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide. At right is Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama, flanked by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., right, signs H.R. 3230, the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, at the Wallace Theater in Fort Belvoir, Va. on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The bill gives resources to the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve access and quality of care for veterans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, to discuss Republican efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare and other programs that have an impact on working families. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, became the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee when the new GOP-controlled Congress began. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club on Monday, March 9, 2015 in Washington. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is considering running for the 2016 Democratic nomination as a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton, focusing on income inequality and climate change. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, to discuss the budget. From left are, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Sanders, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a 'Don't Trade Our Future' march organized by the group Campaign for America's Future April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event was part of the Populism 2015 Conference which is conducting their conference with the theme 'Building a Movement for People and the Planet.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs at a campaign rally for Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives with his wife Jane at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders greets supporters after speaking in Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Brandon McKenna, of Philadelphia, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waits for the candidate to speak at a Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Darryl Sullivan shows his support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Anna Sudderth, 18, shows her support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke on his central issues of income inequality, job creation, controlling climate change, quality affordable education and getting big money out of politics, to more than 11,000 people attending. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures as he speaks during a campaign stop, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Peterborough, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, has a selfie taken with an attendee during a campaign stop at Bedford High School, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Bedford. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton during the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds up a fist as he arrives to speak at a veterans forum at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greats potential supporters during a campaign stop, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, meets students during a campaign stop at the Community College. Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Sanders is scheduled to speak at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement presidential candidate forum on Monday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders,of Vermont, speaks during a rally, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, waves during a campaign rally in Springfield, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2105. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, in Milford, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands with demonstrators who want congressional intervention to stop pension cuts and who support 'Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2015' Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the opening of his Cedar Rapids field headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Marion, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets people in the crowd at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Two women took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders greets local residents while walking in a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Waukee, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Iowa Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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Biden, who will soon make a decision about running, grabs 9% of the Democratic vote in New Hampshire. According to the poll, 46% of New Hampshire Democrats said they want him to enter the race, while 42% want him to stay out. His favorability ratings have increased by 14 points since March among Democratic voters, according to the poll.

The poll's release comes as Clinton is preparing to hand over to federal authorities her private email server and thumb-drive of work-related emails during her time as secretary of state, an unexpected move in an attempt to quash the burgeoning controversy.

Clinton remains the overwhelming front-runner in both national polls and surveys of the first-voting state of Iowa. According to a Real Clear Politics average of recent national polls, she leads by an average of more than 35 points nationally and more than 25 points in Iowa.

The Boston Herald/FPU poll, which was conducted from August 7-10, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.7%.

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