Support for former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg among Democratic and Independent voters in New Hampshire is gaining as the 2020 field gears up for the state’s primary next week, the latest polling data shows.
The figures—gathered daily by 7 News and Emerson College Polling—showed that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders maintains a healthy lead in the state where he won more than 60 percent of votes in the 2016 contest.
But 38-year-old Buttegieg closed the gap by four points from Tuesday, a nine-point boost for the candidate since Monday. Sanders’ support dropped one point from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Wednesday’s figures put Sanders at 31 percent, Buttigieg at 21 percent, former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren tied at 12 percent, and Senator Amy Klobuchar at 11 percent.
The poll surveyed 500 registered Democrats and Independents to gauge their support for the remaining Democratic candidates, with a 4.3 percent margin of error.
The survey showed strong continuing support for Sanders among younger voters, which has been a hallmark of the 78-year-old’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. The leftist candidate has the support of 43 percent of the under-50 voters surveyed in New Hampshire, with Buttigieg lagging behind with 15 percent.
But those voters older than 50 have boosted Buttigieg, 27 percent of those surveyed opting for him compared to 21 for Sanders.
Sanders’ support is strongest among the poll’s “very liberal,” 55 percent of which back the Vermont senator, 21 percent backing Warren and 9 percent favoring Buttigieg.
Moving further across the political spectrum narrows the gap. Thirty-five percent of “somewhat liberal” voters back Sanders versus 19 percent for Buttigieg.
The former South Bend mayor has cast himself as a candidate capable of uniting the Democratic party. He leads among “moderate” or “conservative voters” surveyed in New Hampshire with 30 percent supporting him, followed by Biden at 19 percent and Sanders with 16 percent.
Sanders leads Buttigieg across both of New Hampshire’s congressional districts. He has the backing of 36 percent of voters in the first district, with Buttigieg receiving 22 percent. In the second district, Sanders’ lead is 27 percent to Buttigieg’s 21 percent.
Both candidates will go into the first primary of the Democratic contest without the boost they hoped to gain from the calamitous Iowa caucuses, which were hampered by technical failures and confusion.
It is still not clear which of the two came rose to first in the Iowa caucus. As of early Thursday morning, with 97 percent of Iowa precincts reporting, giving Buttigieg 26.2 percent with 550 state delegate equivalents and Sanders 26.1 percent with 547 state delegate equivalents, according to The New York Times.