Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is experiencing early signs of a bounce back in the polls against leading presidential primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the key state of New Hampshire.
A WBUR poll conducted by MassINC and released on Wednesday morning finds Clinton ahead of Sanders by 38 percent to 34 percent, within the poll's 4.9 percent margin of error. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet made a decision on whether he will run, received 9 percent in the poll. Clinton is up 7 percentage points since a September WBUR poll, while Sanders is down by 1 point and Biden has fallen by 5 points.
While primary polls this early in the election cycle don't provide insight on the eventual outcome of the race, Clinton's recent improvement marks a clear shift. Three of the five polls released this week show Clinton stealing the lead from Sanders in New Hampshire, representing the first time since August in which the former first lady has placed first in a poll from that state. Other recent New Hampshire polls have shown a narrowing gap between the two candidates.
HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates all publicly available polls, also shows the gap narrowing. Sanders now stands at 40 percent, while Clinton has 34 percent.
Clinton also seems to have made recent gains in national polls. An NBC/WSJ poll released Tuesday finds the Democratic candidate up 7 points in one month, and an ABC/Washington Post poll, also released Tuesday, shows her up 12 points in one month.
Clinton's boost in the polls may be partially a result of Biden supporters becoming disillusioned about his run and shifting their support to Clinton, as well as polls showing Clinton won the first Democratic primary debate last week and the positive media attention that has followed her strong performance.
"People seeing Clinton in the debate and thinking, ‘OK, we don’t really need Joe Biden now. She really is electable. She seems to be the person that we remember and we remember why we like her now,’ so, ‘thanks but no thanks’ to Joe Biden,” Steve Koczela, president of MassInc polling group, told WBUR Wednesday.
The New Hampshire Democratic Primary is set to take place Feb. 9, 2016.
WBUR surveyed 401 likely New Hampshire Democratic voters via live interviews on landlines and cell phones from Oct. 15 through 18.
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