Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks while campaigning on August 16, 2015 in Eldridge, Iowa.

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Sanders is beating Clinton in first primary state, according to a new poll

Poll allows unaffiliated voters to participate

Washington CNN —  

Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton by 7 points in New Hampshire, a new poll Tuesday shows.

The Vermont independent senator is on top among likely voters – 43% for Sanders to 36% for Clinton – mostly because of his support with unaffiliated voters, who are allowed in New Hampshire to take part in the primary of their choice. The race is tighter among registered Democrats.

Clinton is leading slightly among registered Democrats with 43% of the vote, according to the Monmouth University poll. Sanders has 39% of the vote among the group.

Sanders receives 49% of support among registered independents and new voters compared to Clinton’s 26%.

Joe Biden, who is considering whether to jump in the race, holds 13%, with 2% supporting Martin O’Malley and 1% each for Lincoln Chafee, Larry Lessig, and Jim Webb.

“In what may surprise some observers, Sanders has an advantage over Clinton among both men (44% to 34%) and women (42% to 38%) in the New Hampshire primary,” according to a Monmouth statement. “Sanders leads Clinton among voters under 50 years old by 46% to 35% and voters age 50 to 64 by 44% to 34%, while Clinton edges Sanders by 42% to 35% among those age 65 and older.”

The Monmouth University poll was conducted over the phone from Sep. 10-13, 2015 with 400 New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the Democratic presidential primary. This sample has a margin of error of +4.9 percent.