Sanders jumps out to 9 point lead over Clinton in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has a reputation of embracing iconoclasts and rebels over the years, so it's not surprising that Senator Bernie Sanders would be beating Hillary Clinton in the Granite State.
But the extent of Sanders' lead - 9 points - underscores the trouble Clinton is in. Rocked by scandal and unable to generate much enthusiasm for her candidacy, at the moment, Clinton appears dead in the water and needs a huge effort to turn things around.
Meanwhile, Sanders is closing the gap in Iowa as well.
Sanders is the favorite of 41 percent of Democratic voters in the NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday morning, compared to 32 percent for Clinton. Vice President Biden has 16 percent support in the Granite State.
Clinton topped Sanders in New Hampshire, 42 percent to 32 percent, in a similar poll in July.
No other Democratic candidate received more than 1 percent support in the latest sampling.
Another NBC/Marist Poll out Sunday found that Sanders is gaining ground on Clinton in Iowa, where her lead over the Vermont senator has shrunk 13 points since July.
She now takes 38 percent support in Iowa, compared to Sanders’s 27 percent.
On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump has a 7-point lead in Iowa and tops the GOP field by 16 points in New Hampshire.
Ben Carson holds the second spot in Iowa, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is in second place in New Hampshire.
The Iowa poll, conducted Aug. 26-Sept. 2, has a 3.1 percent margin of error for registered voters, a 5.0 percent margin of error for potential GOP caucus-goers and a 5.3 percent margin of error for potential Democratic caucus-goers.
The poll in New Hampshire, conducted Aug. 26-Sept. 2, has a 3.2 percent margin of error for registered voters, a 4.8 percent margin of error for potential GOP primary voters and a 5.2 percent margin of error for Democratic primary voters.
Clinton is hedging her bets by putting a big effort into building a southern firewall that Sanders, with his lack of resources, simply can't match:
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign is methodically building a political firewall across the South in hopes of effectively locking up the Democratic nomination in March regardless of any early setbacks in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
Mrs. Clinton’s advisers, struck by the strength of Senator Bernie Sanders in those two states, have been assuring worried supporters that victories and superdelegate support in Southern states will help make her the inevitable nominee faster than many Democrats expect. They point to her popularity with black and Hispanic voters, as well as her policy stances and the relationships that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have cultivated. Mrs. Clinton was similarly confident at this point eight years ago, before Barack Obama and his superior organizers began piling up delegates, including in many Southern states.
In interviews, advisers said the campaign was increasingly devoting staff members and money to win the South Carolina primary on Feb. 27 while laying the groundwork to sweep Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia on March 1. Those Super Tuesday states are highlighted in red on maps in the offices of Mrs. Clinton’s senior aides in Brooklyn.
Clinton is still the odds on favorite - as she was at this point in 2008. But Sanders' candidacy is proving that Democrats really don't like Hillary very much and are desperate to find an alternative. At the moment, that's Sanders. In two months, it might be Biden. The bottom line is, Clinton is going to have to give Democrats a reason to vote for her besides her gender.