Is it worth caring about this, knowing that a socialist from the northeast has zero chance of beating Hillary in a national primary, just for the ephemeral pleasure of watching Clintonworld dissolve into a pool of angst if they drop an early state?

I’m leaning towards “yes.”

According to a survey released Tuesday by Suffolk University, 41% of likely Democratic primary voters said if the Granite State presidential primary was held today, they’d vote for Hillary Clinton, with 31% saying they’d back Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Until now, Clinton has been the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in just about all national and early primary and caucus state polling. But the Suffolk survey, conducted June 11-15, indicates Sanders could give the former secretary of state a real fight in the first-in-the-nation primary state. The independent senator who describes himself as a democratic socialist is energizing many on the left, including supporters of liberal hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who’s passing on a White House run.

“The poll is not a home run for Bernie Sanders, but it could be characterized as a line shot to deep left field,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, told NH1 News…

“There is a clear gender gap among Democrats in New Hampshire. Among women Clinton led Sanders 47-28%, but among men she trailed 35-32%,” Paleologos said. “Political philosophy divided the candidates. Among moderate Democrats, Clinton led Sanders 46-26%, but among self-identified liberals, the race is tied 39-39%.”

Morning Consult came out with a poll two days ago showing Hillary ahead of Sanders by just 12 points in New Hampshire, 44/32, a result that seemed like an outlier. The new poll from Suffolk suggests that it isn’t. Everyone expected Sanders would do best in NH among the early states, partly because he’s from the state next door and partly because New Hampshire voters are famously more welcoming to mavericky independents than Iowa and South Carolina, but no one expected he’d be this close so soon, I think. What do you do now if you’re Team Hillary? Double down by campaigning hard in NH, knowing that if you lose anyway the media will treat it as an even more stinging rejection? Or start campaigning less in New Hampshire so that you can claim later you didn’t try hard to win it, knowing that the media will trumpet that retreat as a sign of amazing weakness from a candidate who was supposed to be invincible? Hillary’s status as the prohibitive frontrunner is a silver cloud with one very dark lining: Any evidence at all suggesting that Democratic voters aren’t excited about her will be seized on as some rare real news in the race and amplified. And like my pal Karl says, there’s no way for her campaign to counter it. They can point to her huge margins in Iowa (54/12 over Sanders in the Morning Consult poll) and South Carolina (56/15 over Biden), but all that really does is raise the question of how she’d fare against another challenger as formidable as Obama. She’s a paper tiger, benefiting from the tremendous weakness of the Democrats’ bench. Obama’s probably reading these numbers and thinking that if he had faced 2015 Hillary seven years ago, he might not have lost a state.

Luckily for her, we’re seemingly going to nominate a candidate who’s even more disliked by his own party’s base, with even bigger dynasty problems as a national candidate, than she is. Exit question: Will there be a place for Bernie in President Hillary’s administration?