There are two groups of people that are excited about the new CNN/WMUR poll of Democrats in New Hampshire: Bernie Sanders fans and political pundits.
Both are excited because this poll is a doozy of the blink-twice, ask-a-co-worker-if-you're-reading-the-numbers-correctly variety. Since the last CNN/WMUR poll in December, Sanders's then-large lead of 10 points has inflated to 27 points -- the sort of margin of victory that makes it hard for campaign staff to feel a lot of motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
This is why Bernie Sanders's staff probably isn't excited about this bananas poll. They need to raise money and get voters to the polls in a few weeks, and if Sanders backers think that the guy is going to win by a landslide, it doesn't really make trundling off to a church basement in New Hampshire winter weather seem particularly urgent. Especially given that, as CNN reports, "the Vermont senator's support rests heavily on groups whose participation in New Hampshire primaries is less reliable -- notably younger voters and those who aren't registered Democrats." Among registered Democrats, Clinton trails by 9 points. Among undeclared voters, who can vote in either primary, she trails by 45. If Sanders is up big because people who don't usually turn out are supporting him, and then there's not much impetus for them to turn out, that's not great news.
Except Sanders's lead here is so big that even that wouldn't matter if it were true. And the poll suggests an enormous amount of support for Sanders. His favorability ratings are over 90 percent in the state, which is basically where Michael Jordan's favorability ratings would have been in Chicago in 1993. Clinton's favorability ratings are good, but lower here than nationally and, obviously, nowhere close to Sanders.
(There are other details in the CNN/WMUR poll, such as that Clinton is the "least-trusted" candidate by a wide margin. In what's a two-person race which includes a guy who essentially has home field advantage versus someone much better-known, it's hard to know how useful that is as a metric.)
We'd seen big leads in polls before, often linked to methodology. But this poll is different. You can see how it dramatically shifts the polling average in New Hampshire, as calculated by Real Clear Politics. Sanders is now over 50 percent support on average which, needless to say, is good news for him.
But is this an outlier? It is a sign of a quickly shifting race? Is it sampling the wrong people? Is it dead-on? It's almost impossible to say. The only thing we can say with certainty is that nearly everyone hopes it's wrong except those of us who like it when interesting and unexpected things happen in politics and those of you who are excited about the prospect of President Bernie Sanders.