New Poll Shows Sanders Dethrones Biden in New Hampshire Primary

September 12, 2019 Updated: September 12, 2019

A new poll shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dethroning fellow presidential hopeful Joe Biden to clinch top spot among the 2020 Democrat challengers.

Sanders has pulled ahead of the former vice president in the New Hampshire poll, with 29 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the self-avowed “democratic socialist.”

According to the Hoover Institute’s Paul R. Gregory: “Sanders reveals little about what socialism means to him, other than giving many things away free. He disarms critics by asserting that he is not a ‘socialist’ but a ‘Democratic Socialist,’ without defining what that means.”

Biden came in second with 21 percent of the vote and Massachusetts U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren placed third with 17 percent, in what is shaping up to be a three-candidate contest.

joe biden "not nuts"
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden reacts during a campaign event at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, on Aug. 24, 2019. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

The new poll showing Sanders pulling ahead of the pack was released on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Conducted by telephone between Sept. 4-10, the Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald Poll measured voter preference among Democratic voters in New Hampshire, with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.

The study showed California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris in fourth spot with 6 percent, followed by Andrew Yang and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg both tied at 5 percent.

The poll also asked Republican respondents about whether they approved of the job President Donald Trump was doing and a significant 83 percent said yes.

July Poll: 54 Percent of Americans in the South Approve of Trump

A July poll found that 54 percent of Americans in the south approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job as the country’s commander-in-chief.

According to the recent NBC News|SurveyMonkey online poll (pdf), conducted between July 2 and 16, 38 percent of Americans in the south “strongly approve” of Trump’s job as president, while 16 percent expressed that they “somewhat approve” his handling of the job. This is up from a total approval of 52 percent based on the same poll conducted in September last year.

Meanwhile, 45 percent expressed that they “somewhat disapprove” or “strongly disapprove” Trump’s job as president.

‘How Socialist Is Bernie Sanders?’

“Sanders has spent a long political career obfuscating his true political beliefs,” Gregory argues in his op-ed headlined “How Socialist Is Bernie Sanders?”

“The media rarely pushes back on his standard platitudes, such as, ‘We must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.'” Gregory adds that Sanders’s “two-minute video, promising to explain his brand of socialism, leaves the viewer clueless, probably deliberately.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks while introducing health care legislation titled the “Medicare for All Act of 2019” with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 9, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sanders said during a CNN interview on June 12 that Americans would love to pay more in taxes in exchange for the government taking over the entire healthcare system.

“Look, what we have to understand, for example … the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a right,” Sanders said.

“In many countries in Europe, Germany for one, you go to college and the cost of college is zero. I think in Finland they actually pay you to go to college. In most countries around the world, the level of income and wealth inequality, which in the United States today is worse than at any time since the 1920s … that level of income and wealth inequality is much less severe than it is right here in the United States.”

Host Anderson Cooper reminded Sanders that the cost of free or near-free government services is typically higher taxes: “As you know, the taxes in many of those countries are much higher than they are in … the individual and personal tax are much higher than they are in the United States.”

“Yeah, but I suspect that a lot of people in the country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive healthcare as a human right,” Sanders responded. “I live 50 miles away from the Canadian border. You go to the doctor any time you want. You don’t take out your wallet. You have heart surgery, you have a heart transplant and you come out of the hospital and it costs you nothing.”

“Your kids in many countries around the world can go to the public colleges and universities tuition-free, wages in many cases are higher,” Sanders added. “So there is a tradeoff, but at the end of the day, I think, that most people will believe they will be better off when their kids have educational opportunities without out-of-pocket expenses and when they have healthcare as a human right and they have affordable housing, when they have decent retirement security, I think most Americans will understand that is a good deal.”

Sanders has struggled to provide figures on how much his wide-ranging proposals would cost. According to an analysis by the Mercatus Center, expanding Medicare to every American would cost more than $32 trillion over 10 years.

In his study, Charles Blahous argues that such a massive cost increase would be highly cumbersome. He says that even doubling all federal individual and corporate income tax collections would fall short of fully funding Sanders’s universal health care scheme.

“Marx declared that a socialist revolution would be required to part the capitalists from their capital,” Gregory writes in the op-ed. “Democratic Socialists (DSA and Sanders) see a different path to what they consider true democracy: Organize the poor, the working class, and all other oppressed groups into what James Madison called an ‘overbearing majority.’ Such a coalition would have enough power to transfer capital to the state by ‘democratic means.'”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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