Saturday Polls: Trump, Sanders Hold Steady Leads in New Hampshire

by Mike Flynn 6 Feb 2016

Two new tracking polls in New Hampshire show steady races in both the Republican and Democrat contests ahead of Tuesday’s primary vote. Donald Trump maintains strong 17 and 21 point leads in two surveys. Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leads Hillary Clinton by 12 and 14 points.

The tracking polls, from UMass-Lowell and ARG, have shown a bit of tightening in both races throughout the week. Movement so far, however, doesn’t show any fundamental change in either race. Both Trump and Sanders look well positioned to win their respective contests on Tuesday.

Among likely voters, Sanders currently leads Clinton 55-41. His margin among registered voters is even larger, though, 57-38. Sanders has polled in the mid-50s for much of the month of January. The tightening in the polls has been Clinton gaining some support from her very low levels in previous polls.

Sanders leads among both men and women. Clinton has made overt appeals to women based on her potential to be the first female president. In New Hampshire, at least, these appeals are falling flat.

Sanders leads among young voters by massive amounts. Among voters under 30, Sanders beats Clinton 92-8. Voters aged 30-40 support Sanders 84-11 over Clinton. Among seniors, aged 65 and over, Clinton leads by a large 59-37 margin.

Sanders lead among young voters is much larger than even Obama achieved in 2008. Even more promising for Sanders, the number of voters under 40 in 2008 was almost 3 times the number of voters 65 and older.

On the Republican side, Trump leads with 35 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) with 14, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 13, and Jeb Bush and John Kasich tied with 10 percent each in the UMass tracking poll. Given the polls margin of error, though, all four trailing candidates are essentially tied for second place.

In the ARG tracking poll, Trump leads with 34, with Kasich and Rubio tied for second with 17 and 16 percent respectively. Cruz and Bush are tied for 4th, with 9 and 8 percent.

Trump has consistently polled in the mid to high 30s throughout January and December. The volatility in the race is all on the runner-up position. The tightening in the race has not been due to any real drop-off in support for Trump, but rather a consolidating of support for the second and third place candidates.

While Rubio has gained the most support among the runner-up candidates, his support is also the weakest. Only 45 percent of his supporters say they will definitely support him. A solid majority, 55 percent, say they could still change their minds.

Another interesting aspect of Rubio’s support is that he performs weakest among young voters. He is tied for 5th among voters under 30. He actually runs 5th for all age demographics except seniors. He is actually tied with Trump among voters 65 and older.

Rubio’s supporters often herald him as a Republican for the “next generation.” He polls best though with the “last generation” and is relatively unpopular with young voters.

The Republican race may see a lot of movement after Saturday’s GOP debate. This movement is unlikely to show up in polling, though, with the election on Tuesday. The election truly will be the next poll that matters.