While national polls place Joe Biden as the solid favorite, he may be falling behind.
According to the most recent Gravis Marketing Poll, Bernie Sanders (VT) is the leader in New Hampshire with 21%, and Biden has fallen to a distant second at 15%, which has serious implications for his prospects going forward.
Say It Ain’t So, Joe
New Hampshire is the second state on the primary schedule. On February 3, voters will officially start the election off in Iowa.
Next up is the Granite State, which carries a total of 33 delegates.
While it is far from the largest bounty states on the calendar, the candidate that comes out of those first two elections has a full 10 days to work that momentum until the Nevada caucus takes place.
Biden has proven he can be shaken, so if Bernie can hang close to Biden in Iowa and actually come out ahead after New Hampshire, Biden may have already lost the race.
Will History Repeat Itself?
The key to how all of this plays out is going to be how many Democrat candidates will still be around by election day.
While there are two dozen candidates in the race now, that field will surely be thinned out by the first primary. Even so, it will not be the head-to-head battle Bernie had with Clinton in 2016.
In that race, Clinton squeaked by Sanders in Iowa, winning 23-21, but Sanders took 15 of the 24 delegates available in New Hampshire to take a slight lead overall. Even with a thinned-out field, there are more than likely still going to be at least a half-dozen candidates vying for these votes.
The Republican primary probably offers a much better window into the future of how these races are going to go. President Trump faced a similarly-sized field in 2016 and held a small lead headed out of New Hampshire.
However, Trump really separated himself from the field in the smaller elections heading into Super Tuesday. By the time that day arrived, Trump had a commanding 65 delegate lead and he never looked back.
In 2016, Sanders did not fare well in the elections leading up to Super Tuesday, and he was absolutely crushed on that day, so Bernie should not get too ahead of himself based solely on these early poll results from New Hampshire. However, the poll does show that Biden is not the shoo-in that many thought he would be.