Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg continued to gain ground among likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire, vaulting into second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders in a new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll.
Buttigieg appeared to build on his surge of support a day earlier as he became the presumptive winner in the Iowa caucuses, while former vice president Joe Biden continued to drop and Senator Elizabeth Warren held onto fourth place.
“Buttigieg’s movement is real," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which conducted the poll. “This is beginning to shape up to be a two-person race.”
Sanders’ support was at 25 percent in the poll, the third of seven the center is conducting in the run-up to the nation’s first primary on Tuesday.
That’s a slight bump from the 24 percent Sanders scored in both Monday’s and Tuesday’s polls, but not the big jump he might have hoped for after a strong showing in Iowa had him narrowly in second place with 96 percent of the results released. That’s likely because Sanders was expected to win Iowa, and apparently coming in a close second to Buttigieg there hasn’t helped the Vermont senator, Paleologos said.
Sanders won the 2016 New Hampshire primary.
Biden, who dropped from 18 percent in Monday’s New Hampshire poll to 15 percent on Tuesday, as early results from the problem-plagued Iowa caucuses showed him in fourth place there, drifted further from the top on Wednesday, coming in at 12 percent.
Buttigieg, who had surged from 11 percent on Monday to 15 percent Tuesday, tying him with Biden, soared even higher on Wednesday, with 19 percent support in the poll. That bump came as his support among New Hampshire Democratic voters over 65 years old jumped from 12 percent to 16 percent, and as Biden’s support in that age group plummeted from 27 percent to 19 percent.
“At some point Biden’s numbers have to bottom out,” Paleologos said. “It would be shocking if he fell into single digits, but you just don’t know. Right now, Buttigieg is parlaying the fact that he exceeded expectations in Iowa to the Nth degree.”
Warren held steady at 11 percent, compared to 13 percent Monday and 10 percent Tuesday. All other candidates were in the single digits, and 14 percent of voters were undecided.
Wednesday’s results came from polling, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, and reflects a two-day rolling average of 500 likely voters, with 250 interviews conducted by live callers calling both landlines and cell phones each night. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Calling was completed after the US Senate voted almost entirely along party lines Wednesday to acquit President Trump in his impeachment trial. Those voting to convict included several senators seeking the Democratic nomination, but it’s unclear at this point what role that vote might play in their campaigns. What’s certain is that one candidate who expected to benefit did not.
“The impeachment process was supposed to help Biden and Buttigieg because of time and resources, and it didn’t,” Paleologos said. “It helped Buttigieg and did not help Biden.”