Without being privy to any inside information, it’s safe to say that Hillary Clinton would like to enter her spring without hearing another word about Bernie Sanders. Really messing that up for her: Live Free or Die New Hampshire, which is turning into a Sanders love-fest, even among undeclared voters.
A new CNN/WMUR poll shows Sanders leading Clinton in New Hampshire by 10 points (although his lead has narrowed since September, when he was 16 points ahead). And while polls are essentially meaningless this far out, if those numbers hold even slightly true, they could be very inconvenient for Clinton, who’s hoping to knock Sanders out of the race in the very first round of primaries. New Hampshire is among the first, and Sanders surviving there could have big implications for the rest of the race.
More interesting is who likes Sanders in New Hampshire: not just Democrats, but “undeclared” voters, too—even the ones who say they’re more interested in the GOP race than the Democratic one. Fully 55 percent of those mysterious folks back Sanders, compared to 37 percent for Clinton. He’s also, as Public Policy Polling points out, the only candidate on either side who more voters in the state think positively about. As CNN notes, Sanders tends to rank higher on perceived honesty and on whether he’s seen as “progressive” by voters, while Clinton gets higher marks for foreign policy and how people think she’d handle ISIS. Overall, though, one poll-watcher told Boston.com that Sanders’ favorability ratings here are “almost unheard-of.”
Of course, all of that is rendered more or less moot by Iowa, where Clinton still has a big, big lead. In the end, perhaps this is mainly a reminder that our electoral system is baffling and completely nonsensical. But it’s also encouraging to see just how damn interesting this supposedly very predictable race remains.