Poll: Buttigieg Saps Biden Support with Twelve-Point Gain in New Hampshire

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg during the Democratic primary debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., December 19, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The latest New Hampshire caucus poll shows Pete Buttigieg up twelve points in just four days after declaring victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Buttigieg now sits in second place in the latest WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll with 23 percent, in a virtual tie with Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) — who leads with 24 percent — based on the margin of error.

The former mayor made headlines by declaring victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night, despite the fact that the state party had failed to report any official numbers. The Iowa Democratic Party has yet to declare a winner with 99 percent reporting as of Friday morning, but Buttigieg leads Sanders by a mere one-tenth of a percentage point in the overall vote, and 564–562 in state delegate equivalents.

The declaration seemed to have given Buttigieg real momentum in the next state on the primary circuit, with Buttigieg surging from 11 to 23 percent in four days. On the flip side, Biden has fallen seven points to fourth place, with the poll showing that Buttigieg has gained 16 points overnight among voters over 65 — typically a source of strength for the former vice president.

“His movement is real,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said of Buttigieg’s surge. “For savvy older voters, it looks to me that when the electability argument went away for Biden, where else were they going to go? There’s nothing about him they dislike. His positions are close to Biden’s, and he’s the next most comfortable alternative to Biden.”

Biden has been blunt with voters on the campaign trail in New Hampshire this week after his poor performance in Iowa, telling a crowd Wednesday that “I am not going to sugarcoat it, we took a gut punch in Iowa.” On Tuesday, the former vice president pleaded to a rally for support.

“I need your help. I am asking for your help. Look me over,” Biden said. “Like my mother said, hope springs eternal. We are not giving up; we are not giving up.”

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