Warren and Biden Head-to-Head in New Hampshire Poll

October 1, 2019

By Alexis Soucy

September Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows Democratic Presidential Primary Taking Shape in New Hampshire

  • Warren leads Democratic field at 25% with Biden close behind at 24%
  • Distant 3rd and 4th are Sanders at 11% and Buttigieg at 10%, Harris next at 5%
  • 57% say their choice could change between now and the primary election
  • Among voters not firm in their choice, Warren is the most popular second pick at 26%
  • Biden seen as being the strongest against Trump, but Warren seen as the best potential president

The September poll by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) includes a ballot test of the 2020 presidential primary, as well as questions specific to candidate attributes and policy proposals.

The poll of 423 registered New Hampshire voters expressing an interest to vote in the upcoming Democratic Presidential Primary Election was conducted by landline and cellular phone between September 25 and September 29, 2019.

Elizabeth Warren has surged to the top of the Democratic field, with 25% of respondents indicating they would vote for her if the primary election were held today. Her support increased from 9% in April to 17% in July, and grew another 8% to September.

Joe Biden is close behind Warren with 24%. His support has been relatively consistent with 23% in April and 21% in July, but this is his first time not leading the field.

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg stand at 11% and 10% respectively, a distant third and fourth from Warren and Biden. Kamala Harris follows with 5%, dropping from second place in July. 

Rounding out the field are Tusli Gabbard and Amy Klobuchar at 3%, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang at 2%, and Cory Booker at 1%.

57% of respondents indicated their top choice could change between now and the primary election. Among voters who are not firm in their choice, Warren is the second pick at 26%, well ahead of Biden at 12%, Buttigieg at 11%, and Sanders and Harris each at 4%. 

“This suggests that when the field begins to winnow down, Warren may in the best position to pick up other candidates’ support,” explained NHIOP Executive Director Neil Levesque

“However, if this turns into a two-person race,” he continued, “the nomination may ultimately turn on what sort of candidate Democrats want to send against President Donald Trump: one that they believe would make the best president, or one that they believe has the best chance of beating him.”

Voters could go in either direction, as 52% of respondents indicated they would choose the candidate who best represents their policy priorities, while 48% said they would support the candidate who they believe has the best chance of beating Trump.

On who would make the best president, Warren has a 27% to 19% advantage over Biden. On who would be the strongest candidate against Trump, however, Biden leads Warren 37% to 26%. Biden is also seen as the best to unify the nation by 31% of respondents, while 15% think Warren would be best.

Respondents were asked how likely they were to support a candidate based on their support of specific policy proposals. 83% are more likely to choose a candidate who supports re-regulating Wall Street, as well as 80% for the Green New Deal, 76% for an ultra-wealthy individual tax, 65% for Medicare for All, and 45% for free higher education tuition. 

The most important candidate attributes for New Hampshire voters, based on the survey, include policy positions (97%), ability to unify the nation (97%), government experience (88%), and perceived electability (82%).

The overall survey has a margin of sampling error of +/- 4.8% with a confidence interval of 95%.