Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
It’s not often that a third-place finish grabs more headlines than first place, but there’s nothing the media loves more than an underdog, and they got one in spades with Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday night.
Three days after the New Hampshire primary, we are finally getting some polls that reflect the new state of the race — including a poll in Nevada, the next state in the voting sequence, for the first time in a full month! And overall, they’re not showing that any candidate has grabbed a ton of momentum out of Iowa or New Hampshire. That’s probably good news for former Vice President Joe Biden, whose firewall in Southern states appears weakened but still standing. But mostly it’s a recipe for a long, drawn-out nominating contest. In fact, our national primary forecast currently says that the single most likely outcome of the primary season is that no candidate gets a majority of pledged delegates.
Just before the now-infamous Iowa caucuses began, I concluded the final wave of my recurring interviews with early-state Democratic activists. Thirty-one activists responded to my questionnaire, and the results were consistent with my findings from December that suggested that although a considerable portion of Democrats were still undecided, many were rallying behind — albeit reluctantly, in some cases — former Vice President Joe Biden.
Because very few national polls were released after Iowa, we’ve been eagerly awaiting Monmouth University’s latest national poll even as ballots are cast in New Hampshire. That data has now been incorporated into the model, and with just a few hours until the first polling places close, we’ve frozen the forecast — candidates’ odds won’t update and no new information will be added until after New Hampshire results are available.
When the Iowa caucuses went to hell in a handbasket last week, they probably took some of Americans’ last morsels of trust in the political system down too. But when I asked political scientists and psychologists about the impact of the bungled caucuses on overall political cynicism, they, by and large, weren’t particularly concerned. The vast majority of voters probably won’t care all that much, they said; instead, these experts are more worried about the indirect effects. Long after the shoddy apps have been forgotten, mistrust and bitterness could still be trickling down from political elites to everyone else.
On Tuesday, as expected, Sen. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, cementing his position as the Democratic front-runner for president. With 97 percent of the expected vote counted,1 Sanders had 26 percent of the vote, while former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had 24 percent. The big surprise of the night was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who finished third with 20 percent. After those three, there was a big drop-off: Sen. Elizabeth Warren finished fourth with 9 percent, and former Vice President Joe Biden ended up fifth with 8 percent.
So far, primary season contenders vying to unite the left and middle have flopped. Heading into Nevada, the Massachusetts senator is gambling she can break that streak.