No suspense, at least for first place, in New Hampshire. NBC has called the race for Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side.
A new batch of Republican New Hampshire polls out this Sunday morning show little change from recent days. Donald Trump remains well ahead of the field, averaging 32% overall. Marco Rubio is 2nd with 15%, followed by Cruz at 13%, Kasich 11% and Bush 9%.
All of today's surveys were conducted prior to last night's debate, where Rubio's effort was widely panned. Fox News analyst Brit Hume said that the Florida Senator's performance "reminded me of nothing so much as Dan Quayle in the 1988 (vice) presidential debate..."
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders holds a 15 point lead, on average, over Hillary Clinton after today's new set of polls.
Despite some variability across individual polls, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders retain double-digit leads as we head into the final weekend before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. The five polls being averaged below were all released today (one yesterday on the Democratic side).
Republican: Trump and Rubio were 1-2 in all five of today's releases, with Trump's lead ranging from 10 to 21 points. Ted Cruz and John Kasich are essentially tied for 3rd, on average, although the two were no closer than 3 points in any individual poll.
Correction: Rubio had 19.4% in the Suffolk poll, which rounds to 19%. The text "Trump's lead ranging from 9 to 21 points" in the above paragraph has been updated to reflect this change.
Democrat: Bernie Sanders leads in all five polls, with margins ranging from 9 to 20 points. Interestingly, the Suffolk survey showed the smallest spread in both parties.
American Research Group and UMass Lowell have been conducting daily tracking polls, so expect to see continued polling releases over the weekend.
The Tuesday snowstorm threat we discussed earlier seems to have waned with this afternoon's forecasts. The storm is still expected to form, but looks to track further offshore than earlier projections, limiting snow accumulations. Things could change again, of course.
A significant snowstorm is possible Tuesday for at least parts of New Hampshire, according to the National Weather Service. If the greatest impacts are along the coastal areas of the state, as is currently possible, it could impact turnout in areas of the state most receptive to 'establishment' candidates such as Rubio, Kasich, Bush & Christie.
At this point, the Weather Service sees snow 60% likely in Manchester and most areas through the state. Of particular note in the latest synopsis is that "there is potential for this system to become a significant snowstorm late Mon(day) through Tue(sday) for Maine and New Hampshire...especially along coastal areas".
Why would this hurt Rubio?
The graphic below, from The Wall Street Journal, attempts to project how candidates will do in different parts of New Hampshire, based on results from Iowa. Rubio's strong areas look to be more metropolitan areas and college towns, with the other establishment names expected to do well in the metropolitan areas. In New Hampshire, these areas are concentrated in the southern third of the state, the area most likely to see the greatest impacts from this storm. To the extent this hinders turnout in those parts of the state (relative to the more inland regions), Trump and Cruz could be the beneficiaries. At this point, Trump remains well ahead in the polls, with Cruz and Rubio in a battle for second.
Lots of caveats here: New Hampshire is a primary not a caucus, the characterizations in the graphic may not neatly transfer from Iowa to the Granite State, the evolution of the race may overwhelm any weather-related impacts and, of course, the state's residents are used to harsh winter conditions so turnout may not change all that much.
UMass Lowell, in conjunction with 7News in Boston has been conducting a daily tracking poll of New Hampshire voters. Today's release marked the fourth consecutive day, and the first where it appears most of the survey was taken after Iowa. It is expected the poll will be released daily, with the final one on the morning of the New Hampshire primary, February 9.
Republicans: Marco Rubio has gained each day, building on the strength of his better-than-expected showing in Iowa. Today he passed Ted Cruz and into 2nd place, although that one point difference is statistically insignificant. Donald Trump remains well out in front of the dwindling Republican pack. Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have left the race since the tracking poll began.
Democrats: Bernie Sanders maintains a large lead over Hillary Clinton, although today's tracker indicates Clinton has eaten into that lead slightly.
Looking ahead to Tuesday, there is a 50/50 chance of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is ending his 2016 presidential bid, CNN reports. Santorum, who edged eventual nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 Iowa caucus, was unable to gain any momentum in this year's campaign. He finished a distant 11th, with just 1%, in the 2016 caucus held earlier this week.
Santorum is the second candidate to exit the race today; Rand Paul announced his departure this morning. Mike Huckabee and Democrat Martin O'Malley have also left the race since Monday.
Nine Republicans remain: Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Bush, Fiorina, Kasich, Christie & Gilmore.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul became the third person to end a 2016 presidential campaign on the heels of a poorer than hoped-for showing at the Iowa caucus. Paul announced he was suspending his campaign:
“Although, today I will suspend my campaign for president, the fight is far from over,” Mr. Paul said in a statement. “I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term.”
Updating an earlier story, Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses based on the final results of the Democratic Party there. The Party indicated it would not be doing a recount despite the close result. A spokesman for the Sanders campaign indicated that it wouldn't challenge the results.
Clinton won by about 0.3%. She earned 23 delegates, Sanders 21. Eight delegates remain unallocated at this time. 2,383 delegates are needed to win the nomination.
With all but one precinct reporting, Clinton has just a three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) lead over Sanders. The update goes on to note that Sanders hasn't conceded and the state Democratic Party has not commented on whether a recount is forthcoming.
Republican: Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, with about 28% of the vote. In a close three-way race, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio were next at 24% and 23%, respectively. Cruz and Rubio outperformed the polling average by several points, while Trump underperformed slightly.
Delegates are allocated proportionately in Iowa so delegates were pretty evenly split among the top three finishers. Cruz received 8, with Trump and Rubio getting 7 each. A few delegates remain unallocated at this point.
Mike Huckabee received about 2% of the vote, and suspended his campaign.
Democrats: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both received about half the vote in an exceptionally tight race. Clinton's campaign has claimed victory, but the race has not been called by the Associated Press as of this writing. Regardless of who ultimately wins, the delegate account is proportional here as well so it doesn't make much practical difference, beyond bragging rights. The exact delegate numbers are a little sketchy, but it looks like Sanders will have 21, with Clinton having between 23 and 29, depending on whether so-called 'super delegates' are included. Click or tap the above graphic to see the full Democratic results.
Martin O'Malley received less than 1% and also withdrew from the race.
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