A shocking new CNN/ORC poll today shows Bernie Sanders not just beating Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire but crushing her — the poll finds him up 60 percent to 33 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in the state, a far greater lead than Sanders has ever held before.
But while it's safe to assume Sanders is up in the Granite State — and probably by a significant margin — we should take that enormous margin here with a grain of salt. It's best to look at the averages of recent polls, not just attention-getting outliers. There have been seven polls of New Hampshire Democrats taken so far this year (as tracked by HuffPost Pollster), and here's what their results have been.
- Clinton +3
- Sanders +4
- Sanders +13
- Sanders +14
- Sanders +3
- Sanders +6
- Sanders +27
That's a mighty wide range for a primary where turnout can be difficult to model (since it's unclear how many independents will opt to vote in the Democratic primary rather than the Republican one). And the Sanders 27-point lead is definitely at the far, far end of that range — rather than the middle, where the truth probably lies.
However, it sure looks like Sanders is on top in New Hampshire at this point. He leads in six of the seven polls, he has double-digit leads in three of them, and the best Clinton can do is a three-point lead in a single poll. Before assuming Sanders suddenly blowing Clinton out of the water, though, we should wait for some more polling evidence to trickle in.
Overall, however, things are undeniably looking quite promising for Sen. Sanders in the first two states — check out my recent piece interviewing some of his supporters for my take on why.