A new poll released Tuesday found Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) with an unprecedented lead over Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the first-primary state of New Hampshire.
According to the CNN/WMUR poll, Sanders’ New Hampshire support has soared to 60% among likely Democratic voters. That’s 27 points ahead of Clinton, who garnered 33% support in the survey.
The poll, conducted mostly before the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday, gives Sanders a notably larger lead in the Granite State than other recent surveys, many of which have found Sanders beating Clinton by somewhere between 6 points and 14 points.
Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said in a statement Tuesday that the poll demonstrates the groundswell of support building behind the senator’s insurgent campaign.
“This poll suggests that our campaign has real momentum and that the American people want to go beyond establishment politics and establishment economics,” Weaver said. “But it’s just a poll, and we take nothing for granted.”
Though Sanders still faces tough demographic challenges in many states, Clinton campaign officials have privately acknowledged the tightening race — particularly in the two opening contests of Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders has been surging in both states in recent weeks, as well as climbing in national polls.
Some Democratic strategists say that Clinton’s recent headline-grabbing attacks on Sanders on issues such as guns, healthcare, and general election viability demonstrate the seriousness with which the campaign now takes Sanders.
“The race is tightening,” a top Democratic strategist unaffiliated with any 2016 campaign told Business Insider last week. “And the reason that you know that it is tightening is that in the last week, I’ve seen more attacks from Clinton and pro-Clinton group on Bernie Sanders than in the months prior combined. There’s been a lot more communication among Clinton supporters, more talking points — they have just been more aggressive.”
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