Bernie Sanders just took his first polling lead over Hillary Clinton

Sanders overtakes the frontrunner in the new Granite State poll -- but there's reason for caution

Published August 12, 2015 2:41PM (EDT)

  (AP/Susan Walsh/Jason DeCrow/Photo montage by Salon)
(AP/Susan Walsh/Jason DeCrow/Photo montage by Salon)

A new poll shows that for the first time ever, Bernie Sanders is leading Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in an early voting primary state.

The Boston Herald-Franklin Pierce University survey of 442 likely voters in New Hampshire, home to the first presidential primary, found the Vermont senator garnering 44 percent of the vote to 37 percent for the former secretary of state.

This comes after WMUR/Granite State Poll released last week showed Sanders had pulled into a statistical tie against Clinton.

Sanders' seven point lead in the new Franklin Pierce poll falls outside of that poll's margin of error, which stands at 4.7 percent.

But the latest is not without its drawbacks for Sanders supporters. 65 percent of respondents said they believed Clinton would eventually emerge as the Democratic nominee, compared to only 11 percent who believed it would be Sanders. And Clinton's favorability in the state remains slightly higher than Sanders', with 80 percent of likely Democratic primary voters holding a positive view of her compared to 76 percent for Sanders.

Still, Sanders' showing in this poll is his best showing of any poll to date and although this particular polling outfit produces variable results, Sanders' has shown marked improvement from the last poll in March. Sanders' favorability has climbed 20 points since then when he garnered only 8 percent of the vote.

The bottom three candidates, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, received 1 percent or less while Vice President Joe Biden , who hasn't even entered the race, garnered 9 percent  support from Granite State Democrats.

The Huffington Post average of New Hampshire polls finds Hillary Clinton holding on to the narrowest of leads over Sanders with 42.1 percent to 41.2 percent.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

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2016 Elections Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton New Hampshire Primary Poll The Democratic Primary