Democratic Primaries Heat up Going into Iowa and New Hampshire

Jack Birle Staff Writer

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hopes to have victories in the first two Democratic Presidential primaries, as Senator Bernie Sanders surges in the polls and other candidates fall behind. 

In the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination, Biden has maintained a steady lead in polls since he entered the race in April 2019. Biden’s lead is in danger as the first primaries approach, as he only polls 3% ahead of Sanders, according to a New York Times national polling average. Sanders polls 27% to Biden’s 26% in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll.

Sanders has seen a recent surge after support for Senator Elizabeth Warren has begun to fade. Warren has dropped from her peak in October and has begun to poll behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the latest Iowa polls. 

The Iowa caucus proves an important part of the campaign, as it began the rigorous process of earning delegates. The winner of the caucus begins the primary season on the right foot and can create enthusiasm and optimism for a campaign. Since 2000, the Democratic Party winner of the Iowa caucus has gone on to win the Democratic nomination.

Both the Biden and Sanders campaign teams believe the Iowa caucus will be an important and hard-fought battle, but that it is close to the end for the candidates. 

“We view Iowa as the beginning, not the end” Senior Biden campaign advisor Symone Sanders said.

The first voting primary in New Hampshire primary will be held only eight days following the Iowa caucus and will have a debate in between. 

The latest New Hampshire polls have Sanders holding a strong lead over the rest of the field. Sanders is polling at 29%, while the closest opponents are Biden at 14% and Buttigieg at 13%, according to the latest Emerson College poll.

Sanders’ recent surge comes on the heels of a controversy with another Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Warren. She alleged that Sanders told her in 2018 that he believed a woman could not be elected President, but Sanders has denied any such comments were made.

The Sanders campaign team appears to be enthusiastic about the recent increased support.

“We are the campaign of energy and excitement,” Sanders said at a recent campaign stop in Iowa.

Other Democratic candidates have continued to fade, as Biden, Sanders and Warren have enjoyed leads in the polls. In the New York Times national polling average, late-entry candidate former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has surpassed Buttigieg with 8% compared to Buttigieg’s 7%. Once seen by many as a contending moderate, Buttigieg has continued to slip in the polls. 

Bloomberg has gained traction in the Democratic race thanks to an advertising blitz which included a 60-second ad on Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. Despite a rise in the polls, Bloomberg has yet to qualify for the Feb. 7 ABC News debate. 

The other candidates who have qualified for the Feb. 7 debate include Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, who poll at 5%, 4% and 2%, respectively, according to the New York Times national polling average. Klobuchar has seen a recent rise in the polls, while Yang and Steyer have remained stagnant in the polls. 

With the primaries underway, the count of delegates begins as candidates look to secure delegates and super-delegates for the Democratic convention in the summer. 

The leader of the Democratic primaries will likely have to pivot to the general election towards the end of spring to compete with presumptive Republican candidate President Donald Trump.