Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders poses an obvious threat to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, where he leads by an average of nearly 13 points in polls. But Clinton’s loss may be businessman Donald Trump’s gain in the Granite State's Republican presidential primary. Sanders has an unusual draw in the state that could pull a large amount of voters who may have otherwise supported Trump’s more traditional Republican challengers come primary day.
Because of the state’s primary laws that allow registered “independent” voters to pick either party’s nominating contest without changing their registration, a big portion of voters could vote for either side come election day. A recent poll from WBUR-FM that was analyzed by Politico shows that those independent voters, which make up 44 percent of voters in the state, are tilting toward Bernie.
It may not really matter anyway, though. Both Sanders and Trump have healthy leads in New Hampshire. Sander has widened his lead over Clinton to 12.6 points in the state, according to an average of polls from Real Clear Politics (RCP). Trump, meanwhile, leaves his nearest competitor in the dust in the state. He takes in 32.2 percent of the vote there, 19.9 percentage points ahead of second place Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to RCP averages.
Both candidates find closer races in Iowa, which will go to caucus a little more than a week before New Hampshire’s primary. Trump leads Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the state by just 2.2 points and is facing what appears to be his second real challenge from another candidate in the race since he first took the lead there, according to RCP.
On the other hand, Sanders trails Clinton by 4 points in Iowa but has been flirting with overtaking Clinton in the state for a while. Just a week ago, the two candidates were separated by less than half a percentage point in the state, according to RCP.