What to look for at Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary

Posted at 8:47 PM, Feb 10, 2020

New Hampshire voters will go to the polls for the nation's first primary on Tuesday, eight days after Iowa Democrats held a caucus fraught with challenges in counting the votes.

By all indications, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg had the best performances in Iowa. Buttigieg is set to take a plurality of Iowa delegates with 14, while Sanders earned 12. The two also appear to be the frontrunners in New Hampshire, according to polling.

But that is where the similarities between voting in Iowa and New Hampshire end.

While the Iowa Caucus draws a more partisan crowd, voters that are open to spending several hours with fellow partisans, the New Hampshire Primary generally draws voters from across the political spectrum. Independent voters often play a key role in deciding the winner of the primary.

Polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

What is at stake on Monday

A total of 24 national delegates are up for grabs from Tuesday’s primary. It takes 1,990 delegates to win the nomination, so a win on Tuesday is only a very small step toward winning the nomination. The Democrats divvy delegates in a proportional basis, meaning with a wide-open field, it is likely that a candidate will not receive a majority of the delegates on Tuesday.

But with New Hampshire among the first votes cast in the nomination process, it is important to do well for fundraising and momentum purposes.

What do the polls say?
Polls released on Monday indicated Sanders is in the lead, with Buttigieg coming in second. Vice President Joe Biden, once consider the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both lag behind in support.

Buttigieg clearly saw a bump in the polls following his performance in Iowa. Whether this will be enough to propel him to victory in New Hampshire remains to be seen.

Regardless, an aggregate of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates Buttigieg likely took support from Biden and Warren. Just three weeks ago, Buttigieg was in fourth place in the polls.

Process under fire

Some have criticized the long-established process of giving Iowa and New Hampshire outsized roles in the Democrats' nominating process given the states' lack of diversity. Both states have populations that are more than 90% white. The population of the United States is 73% white, according to Census figures.

What’s next

There are still two more “early state” races this month, one in South Carolina and another in Nevada. Following the Nevada Caucus, the race becomes national, with Super Tuesday coming on March 3. California and Texas are among the states on March 3 that will hold primaries.

Also, March 3 marks the entry of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who opted to sit out the first four state races. Polling released by Quinnipiac on Monday had Bloomberg third nationally.