On to New Hampshire, and Bernie's looking pretty good

We may never know for sure who won the Iowa caucuses last night, but the clown car moves on to New Hampshire next week. Hopes for getting some meaningful results out of the Granite State are considerably higher since they use fancy voting machines and such, rather than crowdsourcing the job of picking the Democratic nominee to literal crowds.

So who will prevail there, assuming there isn’t yet another massive “technical glitch” awaiting us? One of the final Boston Globe polls suggests that the momentum is with Bernie Sanders, who has opened up a six point lead over Joe Biden. And unless this one turns out to be a complete outlier (which would be unusual for this particular poll), nobody else is within striking distance.

Days ahead of the nation’s first presidential primary, Senator Bernie Sanders has opened up a six-point lead over former vice president Joe Biden, according to a new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters.

Sanders, the Vermont independent who captured a convincing victory in New Hampshire four years ago, garnered 24 percent in the survey, buoyed by strong support from younger voters and independents. Biden took 18 percent.

Senator Elizabeth Warren had 13 percent, followed by former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, at 11 percent. The rest of the field was in single digits, while 12 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided eight days ahead of the Feb. 11 vote.

In late December and early January, the polling in New Hampshire was bouncing around quite a bit. But in recent weeks, it seems to have solidified considerably. Sanders holding a lead of six is a bit less than his RCP average (leading by 9.2) but it’s still in the general ballpark. Over the past five public polls, Bernie has come in first with margins ranging from as little as one to as high as 19(!).

Two other situations seem to be coming into focus as well. First of all, the New Hampshire Buttigieg boomlet appears to have deflated. About a month ago Mayor Pete was suddenly running up numbers as high as 17 and nipping at Sanders’ heels in second place. But now, several surveys in a row have seen him sinking back down toward a finish in third or fourth place. Of course, if he does as well as he’s claiming he did in Iowa, that could conceivably give him a boost at the eleventh hour.

Meanwhile, the other real movement comes to us in the Klomentum column. Amy Klobuchar had been knocking around down near one percent for a long time, but over the past couple of weeks, she’s moved into double digits twice. (She only managed six percent in this most recent poll, however.) That’s not going to give her a win, but she might at least come away with some delegates and an excuse to stick around when some of the other bottom tier folks begin dropping out.

Barring any major upsets, we’re clearly reaching the point where the Democrats are going to have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask the question. Are we really going to do this? You’re going to seriously look at nominating this 77-year-old socialist who’s still recovering from a recent heart attack to run against Donald Trump in November?

Sorry, but I’m still not buying it. Sure, the DNC doesn’t want to tick off the furthest left wing of their base, but Trump can’t possibly be this lucky. Even if Biden – the original default candidate – continues to sag, somebody is going to have to come charging in from the back of the pack to pull the DNC’s feet out of the fire. It might be Buttigieg or Klobuchar. Or heck, even Bloomberg if we’re falling down some alternate reality rabbit hole in a month or so.

But maybe I just haven’t adjusted to “the new normal” yet. Bernie either won Iowa or came in a close second by all indications. And he looks like a pretty safe bet in New Hampshire and Nevada. He’s currently lapping the field in California. By the time the dust settles on Super Tuesday, he could be sitting on a considerable stack of earned delegates. You probably thought 2019 was a pretty weird year, right? Well, baby, 2020 just showed up saying hold mah beer.