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New Hampshire 2020: Biden Leads Trump; Independents Splitting Their Ticket

In New Hampshire, a state that was won by Hillary Clinton by less than half a percentage point in 2016, Former Vice President Joe Biden has a 7-point lead over President Donald Trump, 52% to 45%. One percent (1%) of voters are still undecided, and 2% plan to vote for someone else.


Emerson College Polling director Spencer Kimball notes that “a significant difference between Biden’s lead in 2020, and Clinton who was in a similar position in 2016 at this point, is the lack of a third-party candidate like Gary Johnson who saw his vote melt towards Trump, allowing Trump to gain on Clinton over the final weeks."

Biden leads among women, 55% to 42%, while Trump is tied with Biden among male voters (49% to 49%). Trump leads among those aged 45-64, 50% to 47%, but trails Biden among all other age groups. Independent voters are also breaking for Biden, 54% to 43%. 

An enthusiasm gap is seen between candidates, as three-quarters of Trump voters (75%) report being extremely excited compared to only 45% of Biden voters that say they are extremely excited. Thirty-one percent (31%) of Biden voters say they are only mildly or not that excited, compared to 14% of Trump voters that feel mildly or not excited.


A majority (53%) of voters expect Biden to win New Hampshire, while 47% think that Trump will win the state.

In the state’s gubernatorial race, incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu leads challenger Democrat Dan Feltes 55% to 40%, with 2% undecided, and 3% voting for someone else. Independent voters are breaking for Sununu, 58% to 38%. 

Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen also has a lead in the New Hampshire US Senate race, leading challenger Republican Bryant “Corky” Messner by 15 points, 55% to 40%. Three percent (3%) are undecided, and 2% are voting for someone else. Independent voters are breaking for Shaheen, 58% to 35%. 

Eighty-four percent (84%) of New Hampshire voters tuned in for the first presidential debate on Tuesday night. Of those who watched the debate, 45% thought that Biden had the stronger performance, while 38% said that Trump performed stronger, and 17% were unsure. Democrats were more decided on who won the debate, as 81% said Biden had the stronger performance. Among Republicans, 62% said that Trump had the stronger performance, while 29% were undecided about which candidate won. 


A majority (53%) of New Hampshire voters think the Senate should wait for whoever wins the election to appoint the replacement Supreme Court Justice for Ruth Bader Ginsberg. A sharp partisan divide is seen on this issue, as 83% of Republicans think the Senate should proceed with a nominee before the January inauguration, and 84% of Democrats think that the Senate should wait. Among Independent voters, a majority (54%) think the Senate should wait, while 44% say they should vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Regarding the threat of COVID-19, a plurality (45%) of New Hampshire voters say that the virus is a major threat to public health in the country. Thirty-one percent (31%) say COVID-19 is a moderate threat, 17% consider it a minor threat, and 6% say it is not a threat. However, among those that are voting for Joe Biden, 78% say the virus is a major threat. Among Trump voters, 47% say the virus is either a minor threat or not a threat, while 44% say it is a moderate threat. 


Caller ID

The New Hampshire Emerson College/7News poll was conducted September 30-October 1, 2020. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=700, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, and party affiliation based on 2016 voter turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=421), SMS-to-web texting (n=163) and an online panel provided by MTurk (n=115).


Key Takeaways
  • Biden leads Trump by 7 in presidential race
  • Incumbents Sen. Shaheen (D) and Gov. Sununu (R) also lead their races, due to ticket-splitting
  • Trump voters report being excited to support at higher rate than Biden voters
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A significant difference between Biden’s lead in 2020, and Clinton who was in a similar position in 2016 at this point, is the lack of a third-part...
Spencer KimballEmerson College Polling director
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