Sanders overtakes Clinton in New Hampshire

2015-08-12 20:01
Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders speaking in Oakland, California. (Eric Risberg, AP)

Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders speaking in Oakland, California. (Eric Risberg, AP)

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Washington - For months, Hillary Clinton had to look back far over her shoulder to see her Democratic presidential rivals. But Bernie Sanders surged past her on Wednesday to seize the lead in key primary state in New Hampshire.

A new poll shows Sanders, an independent US senator from Vermont who has described himself as a democratic socialist, snatching a 44% to 37% advantage over the former secretary of state.

Clinton has been the presumptive Democratic frontrunner since well before officially launching her candidacy in June.

But the results from the latest Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll show Clinton has a fight on her hands to prevent what would be an embarrassing loss in the first primary of the 2016 race.

It is the first time that Clinton, still overwhelmingly seen as the likely nominee, has trailed in the 2016 primary campaign.

The results highlight the low confidence many Americans have in Clinton who, despite her overall popularity among Democrats, can't quite shake a series of scandals that have caused voters to question her trustworthiness.

Clinton has been criticized for her decision to use a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently begun looking into the possibility that she sent and received classified information on it.

On Tuesday, after months of refusals, she reportedly ordered the server handed over to the Justice Department.

While Clinton has struggled to move past the scandal, interest in Sanders has only swelled.

He has drawn thousands of supporters and the curious to his rallies, where the rumpled, avuncular candidate focuses on his campaign themes of economic injustice and the day-to-day struggles of America's middle-class and working poor.

27 500 people showed up

Last Sunday he drew an overflow crowd of 28 000 to an arena event in Portland, Oregon, the largest crowd of the 2016 campaign - and some five times the size of Clinton's largest rally.

The following day, 27 500 people showed up to hear Sanders in Los Angeles.

Clinton still holds a commanding lead nationally. According to a RealClearPolitics poll aggregate, she claims 55% support, about 35 points ahead of second-place Sanders.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is not a candidate but is reportedly mulling a late entry into the race, came in third in the Franklin Pearce poll, with nine percent.

The other Democrats in the race barely registered at one percent or less.

The telephone poll of 442 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from August 7 to 10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7% points.

Read more on:    bernie sanders  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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