Pete Buttigieg leads Democrats in poll for 2024 New Hampshire primary

Former South Bend mayor vaulted to national prominence with strong showing in 2020

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 26 January 2023 23:24 GMT
Biden says he'd be 'fortunate' to have Trump run against him in 2024

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — and importantly, not his boss Joe Biden — is the top choice of Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire for the upcoming presidential election cycle.

Those were the results of a new Granite State poll released on Thursday, which delivered another bad headline for the president: a full two-thirds of Democratic primary voters in the state say he should either “probably” or “definitely” not run for re-election.

In a poll listing a score of the nation’s most prominent Democratic figures, Mr Buttigieg topped the ranks with 16 per cent of voters naming him as their first choice for the 2024 primary. In second place was Mr Biden at 15 per cent, with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders following behind at 10 and 8 per cent, respectively.

The result is somewhat of a likely outcome for Mr Buttigieg, who has taken on a role with newfound national prominence since joining the Biden administration. As secretary of Transportation, he has been a visible and vocal defender of the adminsitration’s early successful push for infrastructure reform, a topic over which he frequently sparred with Fox News hosts as one of the few Democrats willing to go on the network to face potentially hostile questions.

That position as the Biden administration’s face on Fox News came into newfound relevance when the secretary came under fire from the right for taking parental leave after the births of his twins, criticism which many outside observers agreed was largely rooted in homophobia.

That led to an on-air confrontation with Fox’s Bret Baier, with Mr Buttigieg questioning the host directly: “[W]hy is it any different when it’s me and my husband?”

The moment drew widespread praise from supporters of the former mayor, who is seen as one of the Democratic Party’s most effective communicators especially in conservative media environments.

But he has also faced more politically neutral criticism over his handling of various issues that have plagued US air travel and other areas under his purview since he took office. Most recently, he has faced questions over why his agency has not reacted with punitive action following a major Southwest Airlines systems outage over the holidays that left thousands stranded away from their families.

Mr Biden remains adamant that he will run again in 2024, but the president was already the oldest American to take office as commander-in-chief when he did so in 2020.

The Granite State poll was conducted with responses gathered by the University of New Hampshire. The survey included responses from 346 New Hampshire residents who identified as likely participants in the 2024 Democratic primary election taken between 19 to 23 January. The poll’s margin of error for the Democratic primary voter subsample is 5.3 percentage points.

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