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5 Things To Watch For In The New Hampshire Primary

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POLITICS
02/11/2020 12:05 am ET

5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

It’s a heated battle to make the top three spots on Tuesday.



By Amanda Terkel

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MANCHESTER, N.H. ― After a disappointingly messy Iowa caucuses, the
Democratic Party
is hoping for a
straight-forward and clean election Tuesday in New Hampshire, the
second state to vote in the presidential primary.

The candidates have largely spent the past week up here, with a
cluster of candidates hoping to make it into the top three
vote-getters. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) is widely
expected to do well, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete
Buttigieg has seen a burst of attention after coming in strong in
Iowa. 

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden is already playing down
expectations, publicly saying he doesn’t expect to do well in the
state. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is hoping to place near the top
in order to stay in the top tier, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) is
rising in the polls after a strong debate performance. 

Here are some things to watch for in the New Hampshire primary: 

BIDEN PLAYING DOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE


Andrew Harnik/Associated Press Former Vice President Joe Biden has
been lowering expectations about New Hampshire, saying publicly he
doesn’t think he’ll win. 

Biden came in fourth place in the Iowa caucuses, a disappointing
showing for the man considered the frontrunner in the race. And then
at the Democratic debate a few days later, Biden essentially wrote off
New Hampshire, saying, “I took a hit in Iowa, and I’ll probably
take a hit here
.”
Traditionally, Bernie won by 20 points last time. And usually it’s
the neighboring senators that do well.

His comment at the debate was an attempt to lower expectations, but it
also could have the effect of dampening enthusiasm. 

“I was kind of discouraged when I saw him writing off New
Hampshire,” said Alexandra Argasinsky, a Windham resident leaning
toward Biden. “He needs to keep campaigning, keep meeting voters and
keep trying to get his message out. So I would encourage him not to
give up on New Hampshire yet.”

Biden’s team worked to clean up the remarks, insisting that it was
competing heavily in the state and not giving up yet. But it was a
clear sign that it’s not expecting to come out on top in New
Hampshire. His team has stressed that it sees the first four states as
a package and believes he will do better in Nevada and South Carolina,
which are more racially diverse. 

Download



Still, a heavy loss in New Hampshire will deepen questions about his
electability that are already starting to rise


BUTTIGIEG BENEFITING FROM IOWA WIN


Mary Altaffer/Associated Press Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete
Buttigieg came out with the most delegates in Iowa and has been seeing
a boost of attention since then.

Buttigieg is currently leading in delegates in the Iowa caucuses, but
a win in New Hampshire would solidify his position in the race and
help sustain his campaign as the race shifts to the contests in Nevada
and South Carolina, which boast more racially diverse communities
where he has struggled to gain traction. 

Buttigieg has been taking fire from all sides

― mostly over his experience and wealthy donors ― but that
hasn’t deterred curious voters of all ages from packing his events
in record numbers to hear his pitch about “turning the page” and
unifying the country to oust Trump in November. Many of them said they
found the 38-year-old former mayor impressive regardless of the fact
that he lacked the accomplishments of the other candidates in the
race. 

“How about all the experience Trump had? None. Zero. Less than
zero,” said one New Hampshire voter who turned out to see him in
Keene over the weekend. 

THE RACE FOR THIRD PLACE


Elise Amendola/Associated Press Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and
others are hoping that they make the top three in New Hampshire in
order to stay viable going forward. 

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From Washington to the campaign trail, get the latest politics news.

Sanders is expected to do well in New Hampshire, just as he did in
Iowa. But beyond that, the candidates are fighting to remain in the
top three. Buttigieg has momentum and renewed interest after his
strong showing in Iowa, Biden is fighting to show that he’s still
the most electable and Warren is looking for a path to break out.
Klobuchar has also been drawing larger crowds and attracted positive
press after her strong debate performance last week. Polls show her
closing in
on the top tier.  

WHERE INDEPENDENTS GO 


Matt Rourke/Associated Press Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) does not
do as well with independent voters, who make up 42% of New
Hampshire’s electorate.

Independent voters make up a sizable share ― 42%
 ―
of the New Hampshire electorate, and where they go could be key to who
wins here. There’s no competitive GOP primary on Tuesday, meaning
more independents will be voting in the Democratic primary.

More independents could be a problem with Warren, who runs strong with
Democratic voters but behind with independents. 

A Monmouth University poll

of likely New Hampshire primary voters released last week put Warren
in fourth place with 13% of the vote overall. But Warren earned the
support of 21% of registered Democrats, trailing only Sanders. Her
standing was hurt because just 5% of independents said they planned to
back her. (Other polls in New Hampshire, including ones by Marist
College, WBUR and Suffolk University, find similar gaps.)

Warren gets significant support from Democratic women, and her
progressive policies may not play as well with more moderate or
conservative voters. While Sanders is also obviously progressive, his
refusal to officially join the Democratic Party and the fact that he
often highlights his disagreements with the party make him less of a
partisan figure to some. 

NO PROBLEMS LIKE IOWA


Niyazz via Getty Images New Hampshire has a primary election, not a
caucus system, so officials expect to not have as many issues as Iowa
did. 

New Hampshire is not a caucus system. It’s just a regular old
election where people go to the polls and vote. They don’t have to
use an app, and they don’t have to commit to an hourslong process
that involves convincing people to switch sides. 

It’s run by professional election officials, rather than the
Democratic Party, and the person who gets the most votes will win the
state. 

Of course, there have been plenty of elections beset by problems in
this country, but New Hampshire officials say they feel confident

that their primary will be less chaotic than the Iowa caucuses. 

_Igor Bobic contributed reporting. _

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* Bernie Sanders Goes After Pete Buttigieg’s Backing From Wealthy
Donors


* How Pete Buttigieg Defied The Polls In Iowa



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