So, yes, Bernie Sanders has registered ahead of Clinton in a Boston Herald-Franklin Pierce University poll in New Hampshire. In fact, the poll puts him significantly ahead; by a full seven percent. Further, he is drawing huge crowds to his campaign events. And there is plenty to like for Democrats who have not had a really strong left-wing candidate since the Reagan administration. Still, the basic obstacle to his nomination has not really changed. He has not proven himself electable.
His lead in that New Hampshire poll is not as surprising as it might seem. The poll respondents skewed young compared to the likely profile of actual voters. Since Sanders has much stronger support from younger voters, this probably slanted the results, even if it was not enough to establish the difference. Further polls will be necessary to see if it was a blip or a trend. At current the aggregate average at Real Clear Politics still puts Clinton up by 1% in the state.
But even if the poll reflects a trend, there is no reason to think that the result is meaningful beyond New Hampshire. Sanders is a Senator from next door Vermont, which is demographically quite similar to New Hampshire. Significantly, both states are around 95% white, and have higher than average percentages of college graduates. This plays directly to Sanders’ strength. He is strongest among highly educated, liberal white democrats. Once you get beyond that demographic, he doesn’t make much of a splash.
So, for all the good feels of many liberals who dislike Hillary, there is little to suggest that anything has significantly changed in the electorate over the past year. Hilary is still the clear favorite to win the nomination, and still has the best chance to win the general election. About the only thing that could take her down in the primaries would be if something in her ongoing email debacle made her unelectable.
This isn’t to say that things can’t shift. There is enough time left that just about anything could happen. But unless something significant moves, it’s still Hilary’s race.