New Hampshire 2020 Game Day Thread

So uh, let’s try this thing again. Tuesday offers the first primary contest of the 2020 nomination process. There exists the very strong possibility that tomorrow night the Granite State will count actual ballots cast by actual voters, which is an exciting and unique thing indeed.

Before we get to the candidates here, it might be good to do a little refresher on the primary process.

For starters, state parties do get leeway in the primary process, to a point. Decades ago, the Democrats diverged from the all-or-nothing, winner takes all delegates procedures followed in the general election for electors and by the Republicans in their primaries. In general, the DNC requires that all states allocate at least 1 or more delegates to the national convention for any candidate who manages to earn 15% of the vote in any given state. The rest of the allocation percentage is allowed to be decided by the state parties, with the approval of the national committee.

New Hampshire gets 33 delegates to the National Convention, but only 24 of them are going to be allocated based on the Primary results. The other 9 are basically “We’re with you folks” superdelegates that consist of the current congressional delegation and past Democratic party bigwigs.Those supers don’t get to do any voting except to break ties.

Polls in New Hampshire close at 7pm in most areas of the state. We should start getting lots of results by 7:30-8pm ET. Knock wood.

Big thing to watch for is voter turnout. Turnout wasn’t great in Iowa last week. Democrats are hoping to do better in New Hampshire in the primary format. 253,000 people voted in the 2016 Democratic primary, so that’s the bar to clear Tuesday.

OK, about those candidates…

1. Bernie Sanders If Bernie doesn’t win – and doesn’t win by 6-10 points – it’s going to be a bit of a shocker, frankly. While it can be said with equal truth that New Hampshire is a Bernie border state, it is also true that New Hampshire’s political demography is much different from Vermont. Still, though, Bernie won here comfortably in 2016. Polling averages at 538 have held steady with Bernie at a 5% lead, but Emerson and Suffolk trackers seem to have trended Sanders’s direction in the last few days that suggest 5% as a floor for the margin.

If Sanders wins by a decent margin, he’s going to carry some decent momentum into a state where he should do quite well – Nevada. Then it’s all there in front of him to win.

2. Pete Buttigieg Pete’s best case scenario for New Hampshire is looking like a close loss, but even that may have slipped away a bit. And in any event, it’s not totally clear what Pete gains here, since states in the immediate primary calendar coming up DO NOT favor him at all. In the past week, it’s been Buttigieg and not Sanders who’s drawn most of the incoming attacks of other candidates. You’d expect Bernie to come for him, but so too have Klobuchar, Warren, and Biden. And I think it’s had an impact, but we’ll see tomorrow night by about 10pm or so. About the only path that makes a lot of sense for Pete right now is somehow to pull off a miracle win on Tuesday and then find some momentum into Nevada. And then to see where things stand after that.

3. Amy Klobuchar It’s a sort of mini Klobucharge in New Hampshire! The senator had a fantastic debate on Friday and is in a virtual 3-way tie for third with Warren and Biden. It is entirely possible she could finish 3rd on Tuesday night, which would be a coup for her and an utter disaster for Warren and Biden both. Klobuchar may be able to peel off a state or two on Super Tuesday, but her best case looks like a close third behind Mayor Pete tomorrow.

4. Elizabeth Warren I want to preface this by saying: I really, relly like Elizabeth Warren a LOT. But…it’s getting harder and harder to see a path for her. Basically, she desperately needs to finish close to the top in New Hampshire. Maybe she’s still got some strong chance in Nevada instead. But what seems like a reasonable possibility is a 4th place finish in New Hampshire…and potentially finishing under the 15% viability threshold. In fact, I think it’s really likely that whomever finishes 4th in NH will indeed be below that magic number. If that happens, I’m not sure what path remains for Warren.

5. Joe Biden There’s a real, and perhaps even likely possibility that of the three bunched-up candidates below the top two, that Biden could finish 5th on Tuesday night. It’s hard to imagine a bigger disaster for his campaign than that, as it will further erode his “electability” argument that’s already been shipping water since Iowa. A third or fourth and Joe may have some momentum heading to Nevada, a labor-heavy state he might perform well in. But there’s also a chance that a fifth place crumbles his firewall in South Carolina at the end of the month, too.

6. Michael Bloomberg Bloomie IS NOT on the New Hampshire ballot. But his profile is rising over the past week. His popularity must be utterly confounding to the other two billionaires in the race – Steyer and Yang have both spent prodigiously, yet neither can poll nationally like Bloomberg can (Steyer is focusing his ad buys in South Carolina for the moment, and is surging there; so there’s that.) And if you’re Pete Buttigieg, you’re looking at a Mayor who has at least as much of a troublesome history with how his city dealt with racial tensions…and yet black voters seem to be not only very open to Bloomberg, but downright affectionate towards him.

It also may be, as Nate Silver has theorized, that “Michael Bloomberg” has become a stand-in name that means “undecided”, and thus the surge in polling numbers for Bloomberg could subside as we get to Super Tuesday in three weeks. But he is absolutely worth watching at this point.

That’s it!

In about an hour we’ll have actual reported results from Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location and the contest will be underway!

An interesting note on rich guys running for the Democratic nomination:

I don’t think yang is a billionaire? Wikipedia has his net worth at 3-4 mill?

Thanks for the info… Do you know if there are any special delegate provisions like in Iowa, such aswinning the vote in congressional districts or anything like that?

The number I care about most tomorrow.

Bloomberg wins Dixville Notch!

2 write-ins for Bloomie, 1 for Bernie, 1 for Mayor Pete.

Bloomie also won the GOP primary in New Hampshire with a single write-in from the 1 registered Republican who showed up.

Wow, Bernie lost 75% of his voter base in Dixville Notch.

Turnout is flat relative to 2016, very disappointing.

Huh. You’re right.

I made this info-graphic earlier when SlyFrog was mixing up Bloomberg’s wealth with Sander’s wealth. The infographic helps put the disparity between them in simple, every day terms that we are all familiar with:

If Sander’s wealth were a house cat (10-20 lbs), Bloomberg’s wealth would be an Argentinosaurus (~150,000 lbs).

BTW, let’s give it up for John Delaney. The Maryland congressman spent over 10% of his net worth self-funding his presidential campaign.

And he spent about 80% of the $24m he self-funded in Iowa. For a broken caucus system. And a race he dropped out of a week before Iowa.

However bad a business decision you’ve ever made in your life, you’ve never made one as bad as John Delaney.

Here’s my rough prediction for New Hampshire:

Sanders: 34%
Buttigieg: 23%
Klobuchar: 15%
Warren: 13%
Biden: 11%

What’s yours?

I want to see if Bernie can produce this huge youth vote he keeps talking about. It’s the only way he wins the general, so we need to see it in the primaries.

It didn’t happen in Iowa, but that forking mess really doesn’t count.

Great point. One of the best counterarguments Team Sanders has to counter the attack that he can’t win is to deliver on the vote surge he’s been promising, especially with young voters.


Some folks are saying the low turnout might be because folks are undecided but will accept any of the nominees, so they see no point in showing up. No real point in showing up unless you really have an opinion in the primary like most of us here do, or there’s some downballot race you care about (also applies to me)

Also that Bloomberg/Steyer in SC might be used as a fill-in for undecided right now.

It was mostly a joke, the number of voters was 4 in 2016 and 4 in 2020.

That justification for a low turnout might make some sense, and most of the energy will come in the anti-Trump vote in November and not enthusiasm for any particular candidate now. But geez, I really wish we had a candidate that gets people excited to vote for them. We’ll see what happens to the turnout figures as we go.

Hey, Dixville Notch (updated to 5 votes), Hart’s Location AND Millsfield all had one more vote in the Democratic primary in 2020 than voted for the Democratic candidate in 2016. That’s reason for optimism!

I can’t think of a time when that sort of filter on keeping voters at home ever disguised a greater voter enthusiasm down the line. But…maybe, guess.

But honestly, it sounds like “Uh oh” spin.

Also, is this taking Republicans into account on primary turnout?

Republicans were fired up in 2016, in 2020 they’re not going to show to the polls at all in the primary cause Trump wins.

In 2016 the Republican turn out was much, much higher than Democrats. It foreshadowed enthusiasm for trump and a tepid response to Clinton. It’s a little bit different this year in that aside from maybe Sanders none of the candidates generate that much enthusiasm, but now trump is a known quantity so even if primary voter turnout is lower voters will still show up in Nov to vote against trump and doesn’t auger November. Probably more uh oh spin, I don’t know, but either way the media will portray it as a Dem disaster (note the language the media uses for trump - triumphant, defiant, unbound, unleashed - and then how Democrats are portrayed - disastrous, demoralized, disarray. I have no theory to explain why this is so.)

As far as college voter turnout, when Republicans held the state legislature they passed - wait for it - a voter suppression bill! HB 1264, a bill compelling [college students] to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to establish residence in the state before they’re permitted to vote. The NH Supreme court upheld it in an advisory ruling.

Y’all remember in 2012 the collective Democratic descent into panic catastrophe after Obama tanked the 1st debate with Romney? Made me wonder if being prone to panic is a personality quirk of liberals, which has led me to wonder now with the fear of a trump 2nd term if liberals are also prone to being risk-averse. I know personally, I’m guilty of both (back before our liberty loving conservative gov’t banned online poker, I never felt comfortable playing LAG (loose aggressive) style poker, even though pushing edges can be really successful in online play). Along with name recognition, I wonder if that led to Biden’s huge lead (“the safe choice”) in polling prior to the Hunter Biden smear. Now that he’s been tainted looks like Bloomberg is taking on that role (although his attack ads against trump are certainly helping too.)

Thus, perception of how voters think other voters are going to vote has an out-sized impact on results, and I think this has hit Warren in particular fairly hard.

I’m sticking with my wish-casting (Warren results) goddammit:

  • Sanders 30%
  • Buttigieg 23%
  • Warren 16%
  • Klobuchar 14%
  • Biden 11%

I am voting for Warren today and I am comfortable with my decision regardless of the outcome.

Edit: My numbers didn’t add up (well they did but 99% doesn’t account for the other candidates. Revised.)

I agree on the risk-averse, at least to the establishment Dems. They’ve been risk-averse for 40 years.

Being prone to panic I think is part of the effect of the mainstream media, CNN/MSNBC really peddle panic. I think the younger generation is more risk-taking due to a combination of a feeling of nothing to lose, and because they tend to choose news they agree with which is more aggressive than what the older establishment does.