In the days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, most polls still showed New Hampshire looking like a Sanders route with Joe Biden pulling second-place, and Pete Buttigieg nipping at Elizabeth Warren for third place. In just a few short days, after surprise results in Iowa where Buttigieg and Sanders are closely tied for the win, the New Hampshire primary race has begun to shift based on what happened in Iowa.
The biggest change? Joe Biden has seen his numbers drop while Buttigieg, according to one poll, has jumped to within six points of Bernie Sanders, the continued leader in the Granite State, as Newsweek reports:
Support for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg among Democratic and Independent voters in New Hampshire is gaining as the 2020 field gears up for the state’s primary next week, the latest polling data shows.
The figures—gathered daily by 7 News and Emerson College Polling—showed that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders maintains a healthy lead in the state where he won more than 60 percent of votes in the 2016 contest.
On Wednesday, 38-year-old Buttegieg closed the gap by four points from Tuesday, a overall nine-point boost for the candidate since Monday. Sanders’ support dropped one point from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Wednesday’s figures put Sanders at 31 percent, Buttigieg at 21 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren tied at 12 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 11 percent.
The poll surveyed 500 registered Democrats and Independents to gauge their support for the remaining Democratic candidates, with a 4.3 percent margin of error.
Here are the two most recent polls out of New Hampshire, the one mentioned by Newsweek from Emerson polling, and another new one from the Boston Globe and Suffolk University:
Emerson College New Hampshire Primary Poll
Conducted Feb 3-5 | Source
- Bernie Sanders – 31%
- Pete Buttigieg – 21%
- Joe Biden – 12%
- Elizabeth Warren – 12%
- Amy Klobuchar – 11%
- Tulsi Gabbard – 5%
- Andrew Yang – 5%
- Tom Steyer – 1%
Boston Globe/Suffolk University New Hampshire Primary Poll
Conducted Feb 4-5 | Source (PDF)
- Bernie Sanders – 25%
- Pete Buttigieg – 19%
- Joe Biden – 12%
- Elizabeth Warren – 11%
- Amy Klobuchar – 6%
- Tulsi Gabbard – 5%
- Tom Steyer – 4%
- Andrew Yang – 2%
As it stands according to either poll, if Biden can’t get better than third-place after a dismal fourth-place finish in Iowa, his campaign needs some help.
Remember the issue over the weekend with the final Des Moines Register poll being spiked due to an issue with leaving Pete Buttigieg’s name off the list of candidates? The results of that withheld poll have been leaked, and according to the numbers, Biden was heading for a weak night:
Leaked poll numbers from what would have been the final Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed Joe Biden in fourth place with 13 percent.
Biden’s Iowa staffers were floored, according to a person familiar with discussions among several aides at the time.
“None of us thought we were at 13 percent,” the person said. “We can’t be in fourth place. That just cannot be right.”
But it was right. And it confirmed what rival campaigns had whispered for months — Biden wasn’t inspiring Iowa voters and his support was inch-deep.
While the full Iowa caucus results still aren’t in, Biden’s unexpectedly weak performance Monday — he’s in fourth place with 16 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting — has provoked frustration and recriminations within the campaign, according to interviews with more than a dozen campaign aides and surrogates.
Would anyone have believed the DMR poll the day before the Iowa caucus giving Biden a fourth-place finish? Some would, of course, but many would wonder about just how hard the former vice president would’ve had to crater in the days leading up to the caucus to see his support cut almost in half.
Further exploration shows that Biden’s Iowa campaign organization was lackluster, at best, and raises questions among donors about being competitive down the road:
Donors needed to be calmed. Staffers began pointing fingers over what exactly went wrong. The campaign parted ways with its Iowa field director, Adrienne Bogen.
Outside the campaign, Biden’s Iowa train wreck revived questions about the durability of his candidacy, and threatened to slow a fundraising operation that was already showing signs of stress.
“We had precinct captains who didn’t know how to run a caucus. And a few didn’t even show. We lost friggin’ people on the second ballot of voting in the caucus. Someone’s head had to roll,” said a top-level Biden campaign staffer Wednesday.
Sufficed to say that if the former vice president finishes third in New Hampshire or even ties with Elizabeth Warren, the alarm bells will be blaring full volume at Biden headquarters.
Meanwhile, with the caucus chaos and the endurance of Bernie Sanders causing heartburn for some establishment Democrats, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to drop even more money on the race with the hope of boosting himself amid the turmoil:
On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, as the nation awoke to news of another electoral debacle, Mike Bloomberg stood on a stage in an old warehouse here, feigning little concern.
“I hear something happened in Iowa – or didn’t happen, I don’t know which,” the billionaire and former New York City mayor told the crowd, adding that he had been asleep on a plane to Michigan as the results were supposed to be coming in.
When he awoke, Bloomberg recalled, he asked someone the outcome, “and the guy said, ‘Nothing.’ I still can’t figure it out.”
While the rest of the Democratic field tries to recover from Iowa and pivot to New Hampshire, Bloomberg is seizing the moment to gain an advantage – doubling his television spending in key states, expanding his staff to more than 2,000, and traveling the country to introduce himself as a competent and accomplished manager.
Bloomberg is basically a nonfactor in New Hampshire since his name won’t even be on the ballot, he missed the deadline. However, he continues to look past these early states and with the current landscape, his strategy doesn’t seem so crazy right now.
New Hampshire is an entirely different beast than Iowa. The primary in the Granite State is conducted like normal voting, with polls opening in the morning, closing in the evening, and results tabulated and reported by local government officials and the New Hampshire Secretary of State. No apps, no multiple voting rounds, no re-alignments, just a clean primary set for Tuesday, February 11.
Beating Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire is hard for anyone not named Bernie Sanders. For a short time, Elizabeth Warren looked like a contender, but her support quickly receded.
If Pete Buttigieg can come out of Iowa with a win or basically a tie, make a strong second-place showing in New Hampshire, the race for Nevada to “break the tie” will be on, and South Carolina becomes a firewall where Biden will desperately need a solid win.