With less than sixty days until the Iowa caucuses, Democrats are quickly approaching the primary season when they’ll finally choose their nominee to take on President Trump. Although Super Tuesday (March 3) will play an outsized role in who ultimately wins the nomination, the four primaries held before will set the tone for what is to come. After kicking off the primary in Iowa, candidates will face a quick succession of elections in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina before Super Tuesday. With so much riding on the outcomes of these early states, FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley broke down recent polling to provide insights into what we might expect to happen. Highlights from his analysis are below.
IOWA: “First up, Iowa, where even though Buttigieg has a lead, the top four candidates are within striking distance of one another. In an average of all Iowa polls taken in the last six weeks, Buttigieg leads Warren by about two points, 21 to 19 percent, but the top candidates are all within 5 points of each other.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: “In New Hampshire, Buttigieg and Warren are essentially tied at roughly 18 percent, but the race is even closer as the top four candidates’ polling averages are within 2 points.”
According to Skelley, “if the actual results in Iowa and New Hampshire ultimately look like recent polls, that would be very unusual: Since 1992, no Democratic primary or caucus in any state has had four candidates win at least 15 percent of the vote statewide.”
NEVADA: Former Vice President Joe holds a solid 9-point advantage in Nevada. Skelley notes that “part of Biden’s strength in Nevada isn’t just an advantage among nonwhite voters; he’s also got a small advantage among white voters there, too, leading Warren 23 percent to 21 percent.”
SOUTH CAROLINA: Biden has a 25-point lead in South Carolina, where his continued support among nowhite voters has given him a leg up. Per Skelley, Biden’s “strength among nonwhite Democrats is most apparent in South Carolina, where Biden hopes that the majority black primary electorate will serve as a firewall should the earlier elections go badly for him. And so far, so good: A mid-November survey from Quinnipiac University found Biden at 44 percent among black voters in South Carolina, way ahead of Sanders’s second-place mark of 10 percent.”