A new poll from Emerson University released Saturday shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading in the key early-primary state of New Hampshire. It’s the first poll of the Granite State conducted since Sanders announced his 2020 candidacy.

Emerson’s poll “finds Sanders at a slight advantage with 27% of the vote, former Vice President Joe Biden with 25% and Sen. Kamala Harris at 12%. No other candidate clears double digits,” Emerson Polling said in a release.  “The NH poll was conducted February 21-22 of registered voters, the Democratic primary ballot test had a sample of n=405, +/-4.8%.”



The news is not nearly so good for Sen. Elizabeth Warren from neighboring Massachusetts. The new Emerson poll is just the latest in a series of polls showing her trailing in single digits in what many political observers believe is a must-win state for such a high-profile candidate in her own back yard.

“I think there’s a very high expectation that either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will win,” longtime NH Democratic strategist Jim Demers said this week.  “Only one of them can win, so it means problems for whichever one doesn’t.”

More and more, it appears Sen. Sanders has the upper hand.  “I think folks have been underestimating the strength of the young Bernie supporter, and the fact that this base appears to have returned,” Emerson University Director of Polling Spencer Kimball told InsideSources. “Even if [former Vice President] Joe Biden enters the race, he attracts an older voter which suggests that Bernie remains the alternative candidate to the Establishment.”

According to Emerson, Bernie Sanders has a large lead among voters ages 18-34, with 44% of the vote. Joe Biden follows at 11%, Elizabeth Warren has 9%, and Kamala Harris is tied with Beto O’Rourke with 8% apiece. Sanders’ support fades as the demographic group polled ages, but he leads every candidate except Biden in every age group under 75 years old.

Emerson also polled President Trump in head-to-head matchups and again found good new for Sanders:

“President Trump trails in all his head-to-head matchups against potential Democratic nominees, his toughest opponents being Biden and Sanders, who both lead Trump 55% to 45%,” Emerson reports. However, Warren’s margin over Trump is just 4 points  (52% to 48%), and when Howard Schultz is added to the ballot, “Trump takes a 2-point lead (45% to 43%) with Schultz at 12%.”

The data showing Sanders’ support echoes reporting by InsideSources which found that many 2016 New Hampshire Bernie backers are still loyal to their candidates and his cause.

“Until some other candidate proves they can ‘out-Bernie’ Bernie Sanders, we’re not gonna switch,” said Ted Bosen, a North Country Democratic activist.

State Rep. Mindi Messmer, a 2016 Sanders supporter tells InsideSources that, while she’s not ready to commit to a candidate this early in the process, she’s enthusiastic about both Bernie and his chances.

“I think the $6 million he raised in 24 hours is very telling. If anything says ‘support,’ it’s the willingness to give money,” Messmer said.