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Pete Buttigieg continues to surge in N.H. polling

He’s closing in on Bernie Sanders

Pete Buttigieg arrived for a conversation with veterans at the Merrimack American Legion Hall in Merrimack, N.H.
Pete Buttigieg arrived for a conversation with veterans at the Merrimack American Legion Hall in Merrimack, N.H.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, building on his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, continued his surge among likely Democratic New Hampshire presidential primary voters, putting him and Senator Bernie Sanders in a statistical dead heat in a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll released Thursday night.

Former vice president Joe Biden, whose campaign is stumbling after a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa, saw another modest dip in his numbers. That put him in fourth place behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in Thursday’s poll, the fourth of seven the Suffolk University Political Research Center is conducting in the run-up to the nation’s first primary on Tuesday.

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Pete Buttigieg campaigns in New Hampshire
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a rally in New Hampshire. (Video: Handout, Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Sanders held steady at 24 percent, while Buttigieg nipped at his heels with 23 percent. Biden slipped to 11 percent, below Warren’s 13 percent.

“It looks like Buttigieg’s momentum is continuing, and he’s really going at the heart of Biden’s strength, which is older voters," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center.

In Thursday’s poll, which has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percentage points, Buttigieg was at 32 percent among voters over age 65, Paleologos said, while Biden had dropped to just 15 percent, and Sanders was at 14 percent.

But the 78-year-old Vermont senator continued to outperform the 38-year-old former Indiana mayor among younger voters, with Sanders garnering 43 percent among those ages 18 to 35 compared to just 14 percent for Buttigieg.

Sanders’s numbers remained virtually the same as he declared victory Thursday in the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses before a final tally showed him 0.1 percent behind Buttigieg in state delegate equivalents.

Biden, who spent Thursday meeting with advisers, dropped from 18 percent in Monday’s New Hampshire poll to 15 percent on Tuesday, and then 12 percent on Wednesday, before dropping Thursday to 11 percent.

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Buttigieg, who bested Sanders by the narrowest of margins in the chaotic and contentious Iowa caucuses, saw a remarkable jump from the 11 percent he scored in Monday’s New Hampshire poll, catapulting him past Warren and Biden, nearly into first place.

Warren held steady at 13 percent Thursday, her same number as Monday, after dips to 10 percent Tuesday and 11 percent Wednesday. All other candidates were in the single digits, and 11 percent of voters were undecided.

“Warren is still competitive among women," Paleologos said. "She can’t seem to get a lot of support among men.”

Thursday’s results came from polling conducted on Wednesday and Thursday and reflect a two-day rolling average of 500 likely voters, with 250 interviews conducted by live callers on both landlines and cellphones each night.

If the current trends continue, Paleologos said, Buttigieg could become the candidate to beat in New Hampshire, but a lot can still happen before Tuesday — including a televised Democratic debate Friday night that could shift everyone’s numbers again.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.