Buttigieg gaining on Sanders in NH ahead of primary, EXCLUSIVE 7NEWS/EMERSON COLLEGE TRACKING POLL shows

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Democratic presidential candidates were more or less quiet on the campaign trail Friday with the majority of them taking time to huddle up with their advisers ahead of the Manchester debates.

Coming off a stellar performance in Iowa, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is gaining ground in the Granite State and working hard to close the gap that still resides between him and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Though Sanders says he prefers not the be called the front-runner, he is sitting comfortably in first place with 31 percent of likely primary voters saying they are “feeling the Bern,” according to our latest 7NEWS/Emerson College tracking poll.

That is a 7 point lead over second-place Buttigieg who gained a point from yesterday putting him at 24 percent.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took two days off to strategize ahead of the night’s crucial debate allowing wife, Dr. Jill Biden to speak on his behalf — a decision that made no impact on his standing and left him holding at 11 percent.

He and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren are tied for the third-place spot with Warren losing two points in 24 hours.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also put her spouse out on the campaign trail Friday — she is also holding at 9 percent.

Taking a look at the rest of the crowded Democratic field, many candidates are still vying for their place in the race.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard lost a point pushing her back down to 5 percent of the vote.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang managed to gain some ground adding a point and bumping him up to 3 percent.

Billionaire Businessman Tom Steyer is holding at 2 percent.

Former Mass. Governor Deval Patrick and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet are still holding at zero percent.

But the question on everyone’s mind is, how will the night’s debate impact these numbers with just days until the all-important first in the nation primary?

That remains unclear for now.

Though regardless of personal opinion, 42 percent of likely Democratic primary voters say they believe Sanders will clinch the nomination.

Both Biden and Buttigieg are tied for 19 percent.

Stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest on the race for the White House.

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