Still reeling after a disastrous week, Democrats vying for their party’s nomination are pounding the pavement in search of Granite State voters. It’s been an exhausting run-up to New Hampshire for the Dems, with several candidates voicing their displeasure with the debacle in Iowa. As the field continues to winnow down to only the most viable candidates, it appears that a late surge by the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana is causing consternation among some quarters.
Burning Bernie – Again
Paranoia is seeping out of the Bernie Sanders campaign and perhaps rightly so. Although the Iowa numbers are still unconfirmed, it appears to be a squeaker between Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. If past is prologue, a win in Iowa gives candidates a jump-start in New Hampshire. Two of the most recent polls show Buttigieg on the cusp of being able to burn Bernie in a New England state that was supposed to be a strong showing for him.
The question that arises now is whether a call by DNC Chair Tom Perez to conduct a recanvass of the Iowa caucus vote will be completed by Tuesday, Feb. 11th, when the New Hampshire primary takes place. His recall occurred on the cusp of Sanders declaring victory in Iowa and has those in Bernie’s camp crying foul regarding what they believe to be suspicious timing.
Does the caucus chaos in Iowa leave 38-year-old Buttigieg with the big MO going into the New Hampshire primary? It appears so. A WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University tracking poll shows Sanders holding at 24%, but Mayor Pete rising four points to 23%. The survey has a margin of error of 4.4%. However, Buttigieg doesn’t seem to be siphoning supporters from Sanders but rather from establishment party favorite Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The difference makers seem to be older voters in the Granite State. Those over age 65 – previously Biden backers – are jumping ship to support the Indiana mayor. Among female voters, Warren has dropped four points while Buttigieg picked up six.
Tracking polls are a different animal, and some argue that they are better at predicting rapid voter fluctuations. In 2016, the USC/L.A. Times tracking poll accurately forecasted a Trump wave that other polls missed.
As the democratic scrum takes place, President Trump appears to be in the catbird seat, having just come off an impeachment acquittal in the senate and what his supporters perceived as a stirring State of the Union address. As well, Rasmussen reports the presidential approval for Mr. Trump stands at 49% as of Friday, Feb. 7 and his RCP average is 45.1%. Any which way you cut those numbers, the incumbent is riding high.
This puts the Democratic Party in a dicey game of catch-up. Having not yet wiped the egg off their faces from the Iowa debacle, coupled with a strong SOTU speech and the near-constant video replay of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) petulantly ripping up the president’s speech, there’s no doubt that, at this point at least, Trump is still the man to beat.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.