Pete Buttigieg leads in New Hampshire poll ahead of Democratic debate


Pete Buttigieg is leading his Democratic presidential rivals by 10 points in the latest poll of New Hampshire voters, with fewer than three months until the first-in-the-nation primary.

The mayor of South Bend, Ind., topped the latest Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll with 25%, up 15 points from the group’s September survey.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden tied for second with 15% apiece, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders trailed at 9%.

The latest Granite State survey comes just days after Buttigieg topped a Des Moines Register poll by nine points, and one day before the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate, making him a likely target for his onstage rivals.

Buttigieg’s polling bump comes as the Midwesterner works to build momentum in New Hampshire, capping off three visits in October and November with a four-day, 10-county bus tour. He his ground game includes 13 offices in the state, just behind U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 14.

“Buttigieg’s bump is driven by the favorable impression he’s made on voters, with 76% having a favorable impression of him versus only 11% unfavorable,” said New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque. “His net favorable of 65% easily bests the field.”

The 37-year-old’s campaign has been determined not to cede New Hampshire to next-door neighbors Warren and Sanders. Buttigieg has been pitching himself to voters as the moderate alternative to the two progressives, and to the former vice president — a message that some undecided voters told the Herald is resonating with them as decision time looms.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said history shows “a slight advantage” for contenders from neighboring states, but that a nearby zip code is “certainly not enough that would propel them to certain victory” in the Granite State.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar received 6% in the Saint Anselm poll, billionaire Tom Steyer finished with 5%, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker got 3%, entrepreneur Andrew Yang got 2% and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris got 1%.

Everyone else in the field — including former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick — finished below 1%.

The telephone poll, conducted with 512 voters between Nov. 13 to 18 — 255 of whom expressed interest in voting in the Democratic primary — said 62% of voters discouraged Patrick from running. The two-term governor fared better than former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whom 77% would discourage from running, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom 91% would discourage from running again.

Only 36% of voters said they were firm on their choice of candidate. Warren topped the list of second-choice candidates, with 23%, while Biden was said to be the strongest candidate against President Trump by a 20-point margin.

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