STAR PREVIEW: New Hampshire Primary 2020 (Democratic)

Following the memorable farce that the was the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic Primaries move onto the state of New Hampshire, a primary which could be equally as vital for the the Democratic nomination and the weeks ahead. The road ahead is long, but a fast start is vital and it is incredibly revealing two major-party nominee in modern history has won without coming first or second in New Hampshire.

Past Democratic Caucus Winners + Vote Share:
2016: Senator Bernie Sanders (60.40%)
2012: President Barack Obama (80.91%)
2008: Senator Hillary Clinton (39.09%)
2004: Senator John Kerry (38.39%)
2000: Vice President Al Gore (49.74%)
1996: President Bill Clinton (84.37%)

2020 New Hampshire Primary
Democratic Party Presidential Primaries
Tuesday 11th February
Live on CNN from 1am (TV) and live coverage online

How it Works

For those who have – or are considering – backing a candidate for the nomination, this is a much simpler situation than last week – this is a normal single ballot vote, rather than a caucus. As far as the delegate totals go, the system is also simpler than last week. New Hampshire has a total of 24 Democratic delegates that can be won in this Primary. 16 of those are district-level delegates – to break it down more, the state has two congressional districts, and each has eight delegates – and the rest are made up of current and former party officials and prominent activists.

Candidates need to reach a 15 percent threshold in order to receive delegates (like Iowa), and then the delegates will be awarded in proportion to the percentage of the primary vote each candidate wins in each district.

For betting purposes though, the winner is much simpler – most votes wins.

Polling

Iowa gave us a first chance to compare votes to polling, and the results were interesting, especially for two of the five leading candidates. If one looks at the Real Clear Polling average vs. the actual result in the first round of voting, then Bernie Sanders polled 23% compared to 24.8% for the actual voting tallies, Joe Biden was 19.3%/15%, Pete Buttigieg 16.8%/21.3%, Elizabeth Warren was 15.5%/18.4%), and Amy Klobuchar (9%/12.7%).

The polls read Bernie Sanders to a tee, but significantly overestimated Joe Biden, whilst underestimating Pete Buttigieg by almost the same amount. It’s also interesting to note that Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar beat expectations.

Contenders

Bernie Sanders’ and Pete Buttigieg’s feud has continued this week, but – all the chaos aside – both were the big winners in Iowa last week, with both camps claiming victory.

Sanders is a strong favourite for New Hampshire, and it’s easy to understand why. New Hampshire is a state that plays perfectly for him, as it borders Vermont, and much of his campaign structure still exists from his wide margin win over Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Sanders base may well have been fired up significantly but the farce in Iowa, which has enforced mistrust from the progressive wing of the party in the DNC, has energised a campaign which at this point of time is a 11/8 favourite to be the Nominated Democrat candidate with Star Sports.

Buttigeg beat expectations with his strong showing in Iowa, beating his polling average by 4.5%, and that momentum – which yes, is a thing in the primary system – has put him into a strong position for New Hampshire here. A crucial takeaway from Iowa was the amount of supports who moved from unviable candidates towards him in the second round of voting, and that result could well convince undecided voters who are in the ‘moderate’ lane of the party to choose him over Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar. This has of course, led to more clashes between the two, with both those candidates attacking him hard during the ABC Presidential Debate on his lack of experience. He’s just 1/3 to win the Primary without Sanders with Star Sports, and 5/2 to cause a small upset.

An average of quality polls as determined by FiveThirtyEight has Sanders and Buttigeg clear of Elizabeth Warren by 7.9%, and whilst it will be interesting to see if any of the candidates have been ‘missed’ by the polls in the same way that some were in Iowa, none of the ‘errors’ were anywhere near as big as 7%, and even then forecasting this Primary should be less of a task than the Iowa caucuses, which only counted first preferences.

Looking Ahead

Bernie Sanders is in a strong position. The field is more crowded than 2016, but that is an advantage given how he has one formidable progressive candidate in the shape of Elizabeth Warren, compared to the 4-5 candidates who are arguably to the right of them. Sanders grassroots infrastructure will also count for a huge amount in races that are more contests that New Hampshire, and especially on Super Tuesday. A new group of young volunteers has added an extra energy to his movement, and the energy of 2016 seems as high as ever from his supporters.

Joe Biden is in trouble. His advantage with black voters gives him an advantage in the key state of South Carolina but that’s well down the road and he now faces a lot of competition from not only Pete Buttigieg but also the surging Amy Klobuchar for voters who might be considered moderate. It must also be concerning that Sanders is beginning to gain with black voters, too.

Michael Bloomberg is as short as 3/1 with Star Sports for the nomination and just 5/1 for the White House, having thrown insane amounts of money into the race. His campaign announced recently that they will double their ad spending, which is expected to reach around $600 million for TV and digital ads alone – that spending alone is over 9x all of the money the DNC raised in 2019. However, he will not be on the ballot until Nevada and must fight Biden, Klobuchar and Buttigieg for voters, whilst he’s yet to make a debate stage too.

Klobuchar’s effective debate performance caught the eye of many whilst putting the heat on the inexperience of Pete Buttigieg and its no coincidence that she raised $3 million in the hours since the debate before the biggest New Hampshire rally of her campaign. Klobuchar’s recent gains in publicity – she has one of the smallest ad spending budgets – are invaluable and whilst she’s unlikely to make the top 2, with the Biden campaign looking vulnerable, it’s not impossible that she could pull yet more of his support down the road, and make 33/1 for the nomination look big.

Elizabeth Warren has come off worse from her feud with Bernie Sanders and it’s likely that she’ll have to track right into the crowded moderate late to pull more voters, for all that she beat polling expectations in Iowa.

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