Bernie Sanders is dominating Hillary Clinton in a crucial early state

America Feels the Bern: Bernie Sanders Now Front-Runner


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has a commanding lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the crucial first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, according to a new poll of Democratic voters.

The poll, from CNN and WMUR, found Sanders with a 16-point lead over Clinton, the overall Democratic front-runner.

In the Granite State, 46% of Democratic voters said they would vote for Sanders if the primary were held today, compared with just 30% who would back Clinton.

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Bernie Sanders is dominating Hillary Clinton in a crucial early state
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign rally on March 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, while Missouri and Illinois remain tight races. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media after holding a campaign event with United Steelworkers Local 310L, on January 26, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders continues his quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shakes hands with supporters after outlining his plan to reform the U.S. financial sector on January 5, 2016 in New York City. Sanders is demanding greater financial oversight and greater government action for banks and individuals that break financial laws. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
LEBANON, NH - NOVEMBER 11: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches in the Veterans Day Parade November 11, 2015 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sanders goes into the Democrats second debate this weekend still running strong in the polls.(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. While next Tuesday's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks about the Workplace Democracy Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol and religious leaders at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 for an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Five Democratic presidential candidates are all expected to address the crowd inside the Verizon Wireless Arena. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
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Vice President Joe Biden, who is still weighing whether to enter the race, was in third with 14% support.

Thirty-seven percent of Democratic voters said Biden should run, compared with 32% who said he should sit out. If he does not run, the poll found the plurality of his support would go to Clinton.

But the poll offered fresh signs of weakness for the Democratic front-runner in the key early state, which neighbors Sanders' home state of Vermont. Clinton's support in New Hampshire has plunged from 42% in July — and from 51% in May.

She was viewed favorably by 67% of Democratic voters, down six points from July and 16 points from February. And 33% New Hampshire voters chose her as the "least honest" of the candidates — no other candidate got more than 2% in that category.

Sanders, meanwhile, has seen all of his numbers surge since the last CNN/WMUR poll in July. He's the candidate with the most positive image score — 78% of New Hampshire Democratic voters viewed him favorably. His support overall has climbed 10 points.

And New Hampshire voters also now believe that Sanders is as likely to win the New Hampshire primary as Clinton — in July, though her overall support dipped, 68% of voters still thought Clinton was the most likely candidate to win in New Hampshire.

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Granite State Poll

The poll follows a trend over the past two months. Sanders has been surging in the Granite State, leading Clinton in every public poll of the state since early August. Other polls of New Hampshire have given him more modest advantages. His strength in New Hampshire has not yet mirrored itself nationally, where Clinton still holds double-digit leads, on average.

Clinton received some signs of lingering strength in the survey — 51% of New Hampshire voters said she has the best chance of winning the general election, compared with 19% for Sanders and 15% for Biden. And 44% chose her as the candidate with the "right experience to be president."

And Biden also could make the Democratic primary in New Hampshire a legitimate three-way race. He sits right behind Sanders as the second-most "likable" Democratic candidate. And, as he has publicly flirted with a run, his support has climbed nine points over the last two months.

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Bernie Sanders is dominating Hillary Clinton in a crucial early state
UNITED STATES - August 16: Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., wipes away sweat from his forehead after speaking at the Cedar Rapids Field Headquarters Opening in Marion, Iowa, on Sunday, August 16, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks to attendees at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The Iowa State Fair is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to mostly African American voters at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday September 12, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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