PPP's new New Hampshire Democratic poll finds that Hillary Clinton's moved back into the lead in the state. She gets 41% to 33% for Bernie Sanders with Joe Biden at only 11%, Martin O'Malley at 4%, and Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb each at 2%. Since PPP last polled New Hampshire in August Clinton's gone up 6 points from her then 35% standing, while Sanders has dropped 9 points from his then 42% standing.
Clinton's rise comes as her image with Democratic voters in the state has improved by a good amount. Her favorability (+56 at 73/17) has improved a net 18 points from August when she was at +38 (63/25) with primary voters. The key for her is that she has narrowed things up among Sanders' core groups of supporters. With 'very liberal' voters Sanders leads her only 43/42, with men Sanders leads her only 35/34, and with younger voters Sanders is ahead 42/34. Meanwhile Clinton remains dominant with the groups most friendly to her- she's up 50/24 with seniors, 47/31 with women, and leads by at least 8 points with every ideological group besides 'very liberal' voters.
Independents are a big part of the puzzle even keeping New Hampshire competitive at all. They account for about a third of the Democratic primary electorate, and Sanders has a 40/32 advantage over Clinton with them. Among actual Democrats Clinton leads Sanders by 18 points at 47/29, pretty similar to the national picture- it's really the unusual representation of non-Democrats in the Democratic primary in the state that has the race there looking competitive.
Joe Biden is actually the most popular of the candidates in New Hampshire, with a 78/10 favorability rating. But it doesn't equate to much support for the nomination (11%) and Biden lags behind Clinton, 24/21, even when it comes to who voters' second choice would be. If Biden doesn't end up running for the nomination Clinton will benefit, since 40% of Biden voters say she would be their second choice to only 15% for Sanders. Reallocate Biden backers to their next pick, and Clinton's lead over Sanders goes up to 45/35.
We also asked Republicans who their pick for the Democratic nominee would be and Biden and Sanders tie at 20% with Webb at 16%, Clinton at 9%, O'Malley at 8%, Chafee at 7%, and Lawrence Lessig at 1%. We also broke down these responses by whether GOP voters wanted that person to be the Democratic nominee because they liked them, or because they thought that person would be easier to defeat in the general. Among those picking a Democrat simply because they like them, Biden gets 27% to 23% each for Sanders and Webb, 12% for Clinton, and 11% for O'Malley. Among those picking a Democrat because they think it would be easier to beat them in the fall, 26% pick Sanders to 19% for Chafee, 17% for Biden, 16% for Webb, and 11% for Clinton.
On the Republican side Donald Trump continues to reign supreme. He leads the pack with 28% to 12% for Marco Rubio, 11% for Ben Carson, 10% for John Kasich, 9% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Ted Cruz, 7% for Carly Fiorina, 4% for Rand Paul, and 3% for Chris Christie. Rounding out the field for the Republicans are Rick Santorum at 2%, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki all at 1%, and Jim Gilmore at less than 1%.