We are at 21 days to the Iowa caucuses, and 29 days until the New Hampshire primary, and Bernie Sanders is on a roll. Sanders just picked up two major boosts, one in each of these initial events.
- The latest Selzer & Co. poll for Iowa shows Sanders ahead of Elizabeth Warren by 3 points — 20 to 17 percent, with Pete Buttigieg at 16 and Joe Biden at 15 percent. This puts Sanders slightly ahead of a statistical dead heat among the others.
- After initially playing coy, the powerful, 10,000+ member SEA/SEIU New Hampshire Local 1984 has endorsed Sanders.
As FiveThirtyEight notes, Selzer & Co. is a respected pollster, and offers one of the few glimpses into Iowa, where there aren’t a lot of polls being done. According to Nate Silver and his cadre of statistical savants’ model, the Iowa poll doesn’t change the outcome much: Biden still has a 38% chance of getting the Democratic nomination. But Sanders moves up to 24%, with the rest of the field sliding down past the placeholder “No one” at 14%.
In New Hampshire, getting the SEIU endorsement with nearly a month to go is key, as they can get out and campaign for Bernie, who won in 2016. I posited that 2016 might have been a protest vote against Hillary Clinton, as New Hampshirites tend to be a curmudgeonly lot of old school yankees who can’t stand Clinton’s disingenuous nature (affected southern accent and all). That plus there–to my ears on the ground–were many NH voters who wanted to cross over and vote for Trump, who crushed the Republican field.
This will be Bernie’s chance to take New Hampshire on his own terms. Getting the SEIU endorsement is key.
“For decades, Senator Sanders has represented the interests of workers all across this country, and during these past few months, he has taken the time to support SEA/SEIU Local 1984 specifically,” Rich Gulla, president of the union, said in a statement.Bernie Sanders picks up backing of influential New Hampshire union, Reuters, January 12, 2020
If Bernie wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, it sets him up well going into Super Tuesday on March 3, even if Biden wins in South Carolina on Leap Year day (Feb 29). In fact, enough of a victory in those first two, plus let’s say an early exit of one candidate (assume Buttigieg), could hand even the Palmetto State to Bernie, which would put him on a Trump 2016 trajectory.
Sanders has money in the bank, consistent polling, a seasoned campaign staff, and a youthful base. I am becoming more and more convinced he has a very realistic shot at the nomination. I look forward to two geriatric white New York City home boys running, because, you know, diversity.
It’s still early, of course. But Bernie must be happy–and Democrats in Washington have to be pining for Hillary to come and knock him out of the race again.