New Hampshire is a state ripe for Bernie Sanders. He’s the U.S. Senator from neighboring Vermont, and he’s a well-known figure in New England and the entire northeast. However, it appears that Sanders could be on the cusp pulling away from the field in the Granite State primary. A new poll from WBUR, a local NPR affiliate from Boston, shows Sanders handily leading the field, with Pete Buttigieg in second place, followed by Joe Biden rounding out the top three.

WBUR Poll of N.H. Democratic Primary Voters
Conducted Jan 17-21 | Source

  • Bernie Sanders – 29%
  • Pete Buttigieg – 17%
  • Joe Biden – 14%
  • Elizabeth Warren – 13%
  • Amy Klobuchar – 6%
  • Tulsi Gabbard – 5%
  • Andrew Yang – 5%
  • Tom Steyer – 2%
  • Michael Bloomberg – 1%
  • Deval Patrick – 1%

As WBUR reports on the findings, Sanders could be peaking at just the right time, something we noted in our story yesterday about national polling:

With the New Hampshire presidential primary less than three weeks away, a new WBUR poll suggests Bernie Sanders might be peaking at just the right time. The survey of more than 426 likely Democratic primary voters finds Sanders in the lead, running well ahead of his three closest competitors: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren.

This has been a good period for Sanders, who’s been raising more money than anyone else in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Two national polls this week found Sanders and Biden ahead, while a number of polls have Sanders close to or in the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire.

For comparison’s sake, WBUR also produced numbers back in December which finds a striking trend for Sanders, rising 14 percent since the last month of 2019:

Back in December, it seemed to be a three-way tie in both Iowa and New Hampshire. As it stands today, Bernie is drastically pulling in bigger numbers in the latter and continues to trade the lead with Biden in the former.

As Politico also reports, though, other polls are showing a tighter race so the WBUR numbers could be somewhat inflated for him:

A Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll released Tuesday shows a less significant lead for Sanders at 16.4 percent. Biden placed second in the poll at 14.8 percent, a 2.6-point gain since November.

The overall trend between both polls gives Sanders the lead, but where Biden will end up in the mix is anyone’s guess. The key point here seems to be an unsettled electorate with Democratic voters still uneasy about committing to a particular candidate. There’s still some time, and the Iowa caucus results will surely play into whatever happens in New Hampshire, but the numbers remain proof of a very unpredictable February ahead.

Here’s the breakdown from the Boston Globe poll mentioned by Politico:

Boston Globe/Suffolk University Poll of N.H. Democratic Primary Voters
Conducted Jan 15-19 | Source (PDF)

  • Bernie Sanders – 16%
  • Joe Biden – 15%
  • Pete Buttigieg – 12%
  • Elizabeth Warren – 10%
  • Andrew Yang – 6%
  • Amy Klobuchar – 5%
  • Tulsi Gabbard – 5%
  • Tom Steyer – 3%

A race that puts Sanders and Biden within one point is much different than a race that puts Sanders 15-points ahead and Biden sitting behind Buttigieg. So, which is it? Why are the polls so different in their results?

The WBUR poll started their data collection two days later than the Boston Globe poll, is it possible that Sanders started breaking away harder in the WBUR timeframe? That’s one possibility. The other possibility is the sample size which, for a state the size of New Hampshire, will always be quite small. The other possibility is simply that the electorate as a whole hasn’t settled. Voters could be changing their mind day-to-day since the race is morphing in near real-time right now, with an impeachment trial playing out right alongside it.

Whatever the case, Sanders still looks poised to have the best shot at taking New Hampshire as he did in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.