2020 Vision Election Blog #2: Competition of the Stories


Nicole Markus, Print Editor-in-Chief

New Updates:

Three Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination dropped out during the New Hampshire media cycle: Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick and Andrew Yang. 

Yang in particular created some stir due to his unconventional campaign methods and policy. Supporters, termed the “Yang Gang,” supported him for his unique policy like the Freedom Dividend, which would give $1,000 per month to every American citizen over the age of 18. These policies reflect Yang’s background in math and STEM, a major part of his campaign. Yang’s campaign suspension likely stemmed from his poor showing in the Iowa Caucus, where he received less than 1% of the total vote.


The New Hampshire Primary:

Primaries work differently than caucuses and are generally more representative of how the general election will run in November. Primary voters only have the chance to vote for one candidate, and there is no realignment aspect, unlike in caucuses. 

Let us take a quick look back at the 2016 New Hampshire primary. According to the New York Times, now-President Donald Trump won the GOP primary with 35.3% of the overall Republican vote, with former Ohio Governor John Kasich and current Texas Senator Ted Cruz trailing him. In 2016, the Republican nominee pool looked more like the 2020 Democratic nominee pool, with eight candidates receiving more than 2% of the vote and many more write-ins. The 2016 Democratic nomination pool looked a little simpler. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won by a relatively wide margin, with 60.4% of the vote and 15 delegates. Former First Lady and Senator Hillary Clinton trailed, with 38%. 

Though Sanders won the New Hampshire primary in 2016, he did not end up winning the election. Since the Democratic pool looked much smaller in 2016, it was a clear race between Sanders and Clinton. This year, with a large number of Democratic candidates and no one clear front-runner, the results are less obvious.

In 2020, Sanders again won New Hampshire on Feb. 11. However, his winning margin diminished noticeably since 2016. This year, he secured 25.7% of the vote and nine delegates. While the amount of candidates increased, Sanders still had a large turnover in voters in the four years between elections, telling an interesting story about the loyalty of his supporters. Sanders has also risen to the front of the pack in nationwide polls, up 4 points in a Feb. 12 poll by the Economist, 10 points in a Feb. 11 poll by Monmouth and 3 points in a Feb. 11 poll by Morning Consult

Also notable is former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who came in a close second with 24.4% of the vote. Also earning nine delegates, Buttigieg has rapidly risen in the polls in recent days after two strong showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire. 

One of the most surprising showings from New Hampshire, however, came from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. She earned 19.8% of the vote and nine delegates in New Hampshire, coming in ahead of both Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden. Klobuchar has also risen in the polls recently. Though likely not enough to earn the nomination, Klobuchar’s results reflect her strong base of supporters and make it unlikely she will leave the race anytime soon.    

While these three candidates all had a victorious night in New Hampshire in one  way or another, the results prove disappointing to Warren and Biden. Neither of them earned delegates in New Hampshire and they also had relatively poor showings in Iowa,  perhaps underscoring a dip in their supporter field overall. Biden in particular now looks to states like South Carolina, where he knows he has a strong supporter base, to regain the momentum he has lost in the past few weeks.