New Hampshire Voters Poised to Deliver Biden a Blow

Heading into primary day, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were polling at the top of the pack.
Posted at 3:06 PM, Feb 11, 2020

As voters in New Hampshire make their pick for president, polls show the race is tightening at the top. Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in polls after virtually tying Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa. 

A dismal showing in Iowa is looming over Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign. He placed fourth behind Buttigieg, Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. He's also polling in fourth in recent New Hampshire polls, again, behind Warren.

The Biden campaign altered its schedule, adding multiple events in the weekend leading up to primary day, including one in Manchester that voter Millie LaFontaine attended. She had been leaning towards other moderate candidates, like Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

"I feel good today after hearing him," she said. "I think his reminder of the things that he's done, people say well, they rely on his past too much. You know, he's not a forward thinking person. He is a forward thinking person and he has so many ideas that are have been, you know, he's consistent about them."

Two-thirds of Democratic caucus goers in Iowa said they wanted transformational change. A similar trend is underway in New Hampshire. Donald Schwartz supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 but is now backing Warren. 

"We don't need much moderates. It's too late. I'm sorry, but we don't need moderation anymore. We need somebody to change this world at this country back to where it should be," Schwartz said. "Moderates, it doesn't excite people, people right now have to be excited. And quite frankly, that's what Trump did to the far right."

Radical change worries some voters who say the far left can't unite the party in November, potentially hurting Democrats in local elections.

"I was with Joe Biden in 2018 when he was out campaigning for congressional Democrats to win back the house, guess what? They were asking him to come into the district to campaign for them. Guess what, folks? They're not going to be asking Bernie to come in to campaign for them," said Biden supporter Fred LaRiccia.

LaFontaine says it’s a real concern for her, too.  "I get back to electability" she says. "I really am afraid that they're going to run into a brick wall. And the rest of the country is not, I mean, we're a little microcosm here. And that might not be the best representation of what the rest of the country feels."

She believes Biden still has a chance even if he finishes fourth again, even though Iowa and New Hampshire have generally picked the winning candidates. Terry McGinty agrees saying Iowa and New Hampshire aren't representative of the party’s national diversity. 

"It's a marathon. It's not a sprint. So I don't worry about that at all. And you know, if you come to me and say he came in fourth in South Carolina, we can talk," he said."