News Release 

New NH poll: Biden leads Trump in run for president

Shaheen, Sununu ahead of challengers in Senate, governor races

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Research News

Former Vice President Joe Biden has an eight-point lead over President Donald Trump among likely New Hampshire voters, according to a new poll released today by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion.

New Hampshire, which has four electoral votes on the line, has emerged as a swing state that was hotly contested in the 2016 presidential election. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by fewer than 3,000 votes, a margin of less than half a percent.

The independent, nonpartisan poll released today found that Biden leads with 52 percent of likely New Hampshire voters, followed by Trump at 44 percent and 3 percent for third-party candidates. Only 1 percent of voters say they are undecided. In an October 2016 poll by the Center for Public Opinion, 14 percent of likely voters planned to cast ballots for third-party candidates while Hillary Clinton had a six-point lead over Trump.

"At this point in 2016, there were nearly five times as many third party or undecided voters, which indicated an unstable race. This year is very different. Voters' minds are made up and they have been for a while. That's the sort of thing that happens when the race becomes a focused referendum on the incumbent," said Joshua Dyck, director of the Center for Public Opinion and an associate professor of political science.

Today's poll found that Biden is leading among 95 percent of likely voters who identify themselves as Democrats and Trump is leading among 90 percent of those who identify as Republicans. Biden leads with 50 percent of independents and Trump trails with 35 percent. More on which voters are supporting which candidates based on gender, education and more is available at http://www.uml.edu/polls.

The poll found that 55 percent of likely voters disapprove of Trump and 46 percent of that group strongly disapprove of how Trump is handling the job of president. Among Democrats, that disapproval increases to 96 percent. Sixty-two percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans polled say they disapprove of his job performance.

The survey asked whether the next Supreme Court justice should be appointed by the current president or the winner of the 2020 election. Fifty-eight percent of likely New Hampshire voters said the 2020 winner should appoint the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, compared to 42 percent who said the current president.

Asked which candidate and their allies are cheating to win the election, less than half said Biden and his allies (41 percent), compared to 56 percent who said Trump and his allies have been cheating. Seventy-four percent of Democrats say Trump and his allies are cheating "a great deal" compared to 46 percent of Republicans who said Biden and his allies are "cheating a great deal."

"These numbers point to serious questions of electoral legitimacy, particularly if the election happens to be close," said Dyck.

In the races for U.S. Senate and governor in New Hampshire, incumbents Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Sununu are leading their challengers by double-digits.

Shaheen leads Republican Corky Messner among likely voters by 19 points, 56 percent to 37 percent, with 6 percent still undecided and 1 percent saying they will vote for another candidate. Ninety-six percent of Democrats support Shaheen, along with 52 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans.

Sununu leads Democrat Dan Feltes by 26 points, 60 percent to 34 percent, with 6 percent undecided and 1 percent saying they will vote for another candidate. Sununu has the support of 92 percent of Republicans as well as 70 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats.

The poll of likely New Hampshire voters also found:

  • A majority (54 percent) think it's not safe to re-open local public schools for face-to-face instruction (21 percent say definitely not safe, 33 percent say probably not safe, 30 percent say probably safe, 16 percent say definitely safe).
  • Asked who they think will win the 2020 presidential election, 45 percent said Biden will win and 40 percent said Trump will win.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) said the country is on the wrong track, compared to 32 percent who said the country is headed in the right direction.
  • The New Hampshire Secretary of State announced a COVID-19 exception to absentee ballot laws earlier this year, which allows concerns about COVID-19 as a valid excuse for requesting an absentee ballot in the state. Among likely voters, 31 percent say they plan to vote by mail, while 69 percent plan to vote in person.

The nonpartisan poll of 657 likely New Hampshire voters was independently funded by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, which has more than 13,000 students, alumni and employees from the Granite State. The Center for Public Opinion presents events and polling on political and social issues to provide opportunities for civic engagement, experiential learning and real-world research.

The survey was designed and analyzed by the Center for Public Opinion and fielded by YouGov from Sept. 17 through Sept. 25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent. Detailed poll results - including topline and full methodology - are available at http://www.uml.edu/polls.

In addition to the survey of likely voters in New Hampshire, the Center for Public Opinion also released polls in two other states today. The findings include:

  • In North Carolina, Trump and Biden are tied with 47 percent support of likely voters. In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham leads Republican incumbent Thom Tillis 49 percent to 43 percent. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper leads Republican challenger Dan Forest 54 percent to 41 percent. (Poll of 921 likely North Carolina voters conducted Sept. 18 through Sept. 25 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.)
  • In Texas, Trump has an apparent lead of 3 points over Biden, 49 percent to 46 percent of likely voters. In the race for U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent John Cornyn is up 50 percent to 40 percent over Democratic challenger MJ Hegar. (Poll of 882 likely Texas voters conducted Sept. 18 through Sept. 25 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.)

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UMass Lowell is a national research university offering its more than 18,000 students bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. http://www.uml.edu

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