Clinton Leads Early N.H. Polls

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
West Lebanon — Former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be dominating polls of likely voters in next year’s New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary.

But the Republican field is tightly bunched, with several prospective candidates likely to spend substantial time and money in the Granite State wooing voters.

Clinton enjoyed 58 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters in a Granite State poll released last week by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

By contrast, 14 percent backed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 8 percent went for Vice President Joe Biden, and 6 percent said they would vote for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

None has formally entered the race, but Clinton has “consistently held 60 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters,” according to the UNH Survey Center poll.

“I think it’s a done deal, assuming she is going to be in the race,” said Ronald Shaiko, an associate director at Dartmouth College’s Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.

He said Warren, who has repeatedly said she is not going to enter the presidential race, has been creating buzz among liberal activists and could affect the Democratic debate.

“She’s got traction, but I don’t think it’s a grassroots thing,” Shaiko said of Warren. “If she were to jump in, it would be interesting, particularly up here.”

Sanders has been the most active in exploring a run, drawing a large crowd to a house party in Concord recently and also visiting Iowa.

On Monday, Sanders spoke at the Brookings Institution in Washington and discussed his 12-point “Agenda for America,” which includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years and breaking up large financial institutions on Wall Street.

Sanders said he had driven through Gettysburg, Pa., over the weekend and that he fears Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of, by and for the people was “perishing.”

“We are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society, where today we are experiencing a government of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires,” Sanders said.

In a question-and-answer session, Sanders said it is “no great secret” that he is “giving serious thought to running for president,” but said he would have to galvanize a national grassroots movement to make it feasible.

On the Republican front, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enjoyed support from 17 percent of likely GOP primary voters, followed by 12 percent for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; 9 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; 8 percent for physician Ben Carson; 5 percent for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; and 4 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“That side is far more wide open, and anyone can get traction and get something going,” Shaiko said.

A Bloomberg Politics-Saint Anselm College poll released in the past few days had similar results to those shown in the UNH polling.

Republicans may also have more independents to appeal to — the UNH poll found that 37 percent of independents said they planned to vote in the GOP primary, compared with only 26 percent planning to vote in the Democratic race.

John Gregg can be reached at 603-727-3217 or

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