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Sanders retains lead among N.H. voters, Globe/WBZ/Suffolk poll shows

Bernie Sanders shook hands with voters at a Claremont Town Hall.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

With a single day of campaigning left before New Hampshire voters head to the polls, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has surged ahead of his rivals among likely Democratic presidential primary voters in a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll released Sunday night.

Sanders jumped Sunday to 27 percent support after hovering at 24 to 25 percent last week in six previous polls in this series, conducted daily by the Suffolk University Political Research Center in the run-up to the nation’s first primary on Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders campaigns in New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders addresses a crowd at a New Hampshire event. (Video: Handout, Photo: Mary Altaffer)

Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2016.

Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg had 19 percent Sunday; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar had 14 percent; former vice president Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren were tied at 12 percent in Sunday’s poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.


Pollster David Paleologos, the research center’s director, said these numbers suggest Sanders will win New Hampshire, Buttigieg is likely to place second, and there will be a battle for the next three slots among Biden, Warren, and Klobuchar.

“This is really about saving face and finishing third” for those candidates, Paleologos said.

“Klobuhar’s spike could be a temporary one and she could fizzle and finish fifth, like she did in Iowa,” he said. But it’s bad news for Warren if Klobuchar beats her in a state that neighbors the one she represents, Paleologos added, and also an unfortunate omen for Biden if he falls behind Klobuchar after months of perceived front-runner status.

“Klobuchar — who has to worry about her own campaign — could really put the nail in the coffin for whoever finishes fifth,” Paleologos said.

Buttigieg, who surged slightly ahead of Sanders on Friday before ceding the lead Saturday, dropped again Sunday to 19 percent, while Klobuchar’s support rose after her standout debate performance Friday night to 14 percent in Sunday’s poll, the first in this series conducted entirely after the debate.


Warren, whose support has fluctuated through the week, reaching a high of 14 percent and a low of 10 percent before landing Sunday at 12 percent, tied with Biden, whose perceived electability has been increasingly questioned after his fourth-place finish in Iowa and declining New Hampshire poll numbers.

This final poll from Suffolk’s Political Research Center was conducted Saturday and Sunday and reflects a two-day rolling average of 500 likely voters, with 250 interviews conducted by live callers on both landlines and cellphones each night.

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