Election 2020: Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg Lead Crowded Field in April Poll

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The April poll by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) includes the Survey Center's first ballot test of the 2020 presidential primary, as well as name recognition and favorability of the candidates.

April Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows Early Candidate Standings

  • Biden leads ballot test at 23%, followed by Sanders at 16% and Buttigieg at 11%
  • Buttigieg sees 33% increase in name recognition since February
  • Biden's favorability decreases from 80% in February to 70% in April
  • Sanders, Biden lead among different wings of the Democratic Party

Executive Summary

The poll of 698 randomly-selected registered New Hampshire voters was conducted by landline and cellular phone between April 3 and April 8, 2019. The 326 Democratic respondents were asked who they would vote for if the presidential primary election were held today, as well as their impressions of 14 announced and potential candidates. 

Joe Biden, who has not yet entered the race, leads the ballot test with 23%. Bernie Sanders comes in second at 16%, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 11%, Elizabeth Warren at 9%, Kamala Harris at 7%, and Beto O'Rourke at 6%. 

Buttigieg has shown more growth than any other candidate since the February poll. In just two months, his name recognition has skyrocketed 33% among New Hampshire voters, with 31 of those points adding to his favorable image. He lands in third on the ballot test, ahead of the more familiar Warren and Harris. In New Hampshire's vote-rich Merrimack Valley region, Buttigieg even slightly leads Sanders 16%-14%.

Biden's lead is driven by universal name recognition, and he continues to carry a strong favorability rating of 70%. This is, however, a 10% decrease in favorability from the 80% he saw in February. His unfavorable impressions jumped from 13% to 18%, and an additional 5% had no opinion this time.  

Sanders is at 67% favorable and 25% unfavorable, which is almost exactly where his numbers stood in February. This static trend is also true for the third universally known candidate, Warren, who is at 58% favorable and 30% favorable.  


Election 2020 - Saint Anselm College Survey Center February 2019 Poll Potential Democratic Presidential Candidate Announced


Harris, Booker, and O'Rourke were slightly less favorable than they were in the February poll. On the other hand, Delaney and Gabbard's name recognition and favorable impressions increased. 

"The early battle in New Hampshire seems to be between two familiar faces that represent different wings of the Democratic Party," summarized NHIOP executive director Neil Levesque. "Biden leads the older and more moderate wing while Sanders' support comes from younger progressive voters."

"The emerging dark horse in this race may be Pete Buttigieg, who has gone from a virtual unknown to 11% support, trailing only Biden and Sanders and ahead of Warren," Levesque concluded.

The overall survey has a margin of sampling error of 3.7% with a confidence interval of 95%. The margin of sampling error for questions specific to the Democratic presidential primary is 5.4%. Data are weighted based on a voter demographic model derived from historical voting patterns, but not weighted by party registration or party identification. 

About the New Hampshire Institute of Politics
Founded in 2001, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College provides a nonpartisan forum for discussion and debate. It seeks to develop programming, and to foster scholarship and dialogue, encompassing a diverse range of political topics, opinions and issues. The Institute serves as a resource for students, scholars, politicians, and the general public.

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