Despite the inconclusive final results of the Iowa Caucus, the train keeps rolling on, with Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primary. Bernie Sanders is the clear favorite, leading every poll released this week by at least 4%, with Monmouth showing a 24%-20% race between Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, and Emerson and Suffolk’s most recent tracking poll data showing 10%, and 6%, leads respectively.
While the two tracking polls show different leads, and Monmouth an even different universe, what both polls agree on is the risers and fallers. Let’s start with the Mayormentum and Pete, who has risen from 13% on Sunday night to 21% Wednesday night per Emerson, and from 11% Monday night to 19% Wednesday night per Suffolk. Whether Pete barely wins Iowa on State Delegate Equivalents or not, he has won the expectations game, and is currently surging in New Hampshire. From a tie for fourth place on Monday night in Emerson with Amy Klobuchar to a clear second place position, Pete is now alone in second place across all three pollsters – and safely ahead of the 15% viability threshold in all of them. Whether this will continue as the count (and potential corrections, recanvasses, and fixes) continues in Iowa is unclear. What is clear is that Pete’s Iowa performance revived him in New Hampshire, and given that campaign further chances at viability beyond South Carolina (Morning Consult showing him up to 12% nationally). Pete still faces a huge problem with non-white voters, but in terms of the immediate priority, a shot in the arm in both national and New Hampshire polls is what Pete needed out of Iowa, and he got it.
For Sanders, he may end up the declared winner of Iowa, but at worst the narrative out of Iowa will be a tie. As the large favourite in New Hampshire currently, he is in theory in some amount of danger – if he were to lose New Hampshire at this point, a lot of the crisis talking points currently surrounding a certain former Vice President would surround Bernie. But unlike in Iowa, where the gap between first and fourth was under 10%, there isn’t the same cluster of candidates increasing volatility as of now. Unless the Buttigieg wave really washes over New Hampshire, Sanders is going to enter Nevada with at least one win, and a chance at another. Oh, and his main opponent in Nevada is reeling from a fourth place finish in Iowa.
For a former Vice President with universal name recognition, fourth place in Iowa is a disaster, and yet that is where Joe Biden is. He’s tied for third in the two tracking polls with Elizabeth Warren, and in third alone in Monmouth, but the Biden campaign is leaking. Cutting ad spending in South Carolina is a sign of weakness, as is the fact in both tracking polls he isn’t viable statewide in New Hampshire. We have no recent Nevada polling of any kind, but between Sanders’ recent surge and the evidence of what Tom Steyer’s money is doing to his polls in South Carolina, if I worked for Biden I would be very worried. We’ll see if the days between now and the Primary allow for a bit of a comeback for Biden, but as of right now, Biden’s national lead is slipping and his state results aren’t looking good.
The Democratic Primary is still very wide open, and the path to a contested convention is very real. But New Hampshire is the next state to vote, and while the sexy story looks like the Biden fall and the Pete surge, Sanders is still overwhelmingly likely to win the Granite State.
Evan Scrimshaw (@EScrimshaw) is Managing Editor and Head Of Content at LeanTossup.ca and a contributor to the Decision Desk HQ.