With a little more than two weeks to go until the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Bernard Sanders of neighboring Vermont leads former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 9 points in the Granite State, with four out of five likely Democratic primary voters reporting a favorable opinion of Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Sanders was at 50 percent support in the Suffolk University poll released Friday, followed by Mrs. Clinton at 41 percent and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 2 percent.
Mr. Sanders had an 80 percent favorable rating, with 12 percent reporting an unfavorable view, while Mrs. Clinton had a 71 percent/23 percent favorable/unfavorable split.
More voters did side with Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Sanders on the issue of gun control, and 60 percent said Mrs. Clinton would have the best chance to beat the Republican nominee come November, with 27 percent choosing Mr. Sanders.
“Familiarity and favorability are winning the day for Bernie Sanders,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “But given voters’ thoughts about the gun control issue and who is more likely to win in November, the Clinton campaign might gain by pointing out Sanders’ vulnerabilities in these areas.”
The Clinton campaign has indeed hammered Mr. Sanders on the issue of guns, and has painted policy items like his push for universal health care as admirable but unrealistic.
But asked to choose between Mr. Sanders’ call to move to a single-payer health system and Mrs. Clinton’s position “to support and continue Obamacare,” voters narrowly sided with Mr. Sanders, 44 percent to 43 percent.
And Mrs. Clinton continued to struggle on the issue of trustworthiness. Fifty-one percent said they trust Mr. Sanders the most, compared to 36 percent who said Mrs. Clinton and 1 percent who said Mr. O’Malley.