As New Hampshire voters go to the polls in that state’s high-stakes Democratic primary, they vote against a backdrop of falling national support for former Vice President Joe Biden.
The results of a Quinnipiac University national poll conducted after the Iowa caucuses, in which Biden placed fourth, show Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the lead with 25 percent support, followed by Biden at 17 percent.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose campaign barely registered support weeks ago, was third at 15 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 14 percent.
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg did not translate his strong showing in Iowa to success in the Quinnipiac poll.
He was fifth at 10 percent support, followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota at 4 percent.
Quinnipiac’s Jan. 28 poll showed Biden atop the race at 26 percent support, followed by Sanders at 21 percent, Warren at 15 percent, Bloomberg at 8 percent, Klobuchar at 7 percent and Buttigieg at 6 percent.
“Biden scrambles to bounce back in frigid New Hampshire after an icy slide to 17 percent, his lowest national number,” Quinnipiac University poll analyst Tim Malloy said.
“Is the Bloomberg camp prepping the white horse for him to ride to the rescue? Maybe not yet, but without setting foot in Iowa or New Hampshire, he is suddenly a looming shadow over the primary field,” Malloy said.
Bloomberg, who did not campaign in New Hampshire, received three write-in votes, one of which came from a Republican.
Buttigieg and Sanders scored a vote each on the Democratic side. Nobody voted for Biden.
The perception that Biden was electable — i.e. the Democratic candidate with the best shot at defeating President Donald Trump in the general election — has been damaged by his Iowa showing, Malloy said.
The new Quinnipiac poll showed 27 percent of Democrats polled see Biden as the most electable candidate, but that number was 44 percent in Quinnipiac’s Jan. 28 poll.
Sanders was second in electability at 24 percent, followed by Bloomberg at 17 percent and Buttigieg at 9 percent.
In January, 19 percent of those polled said Sanders was the most electable candidate, while 9 percent said the same of Bloomberg.
“Clearly Biden’s fourth place finish in Iowa has hurt the perception of what was his biggest strength — electability,” Malloy said.
The new Qunnipiac poll was conducted from Feb. 5 to Feb. 9, and has a margin of error 3.8 percentage points in assessing the preferences of the 665 Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents who were surveyed.
The tightening of the race is evident in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, which shows Biden with a 0.3 percent lead over Sanders.
New Hampshire polls show Biden is likely to continue to struggle.
The RealClearPolitics polling average in that state shows Biden tied for fifth place with Warren at 11 percent, while Sanders leads with 28.7 percent support.
After New Hampshire, the Democrats move to Nevada, where Biden has a slim lead in the polls, and then to South Carolina, where he has consistently led by a wide margin
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