Iowa has a history of springing surprises. The 2016 Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders smash-up foretold a long battle. Barrack Obama’s 2008 win and charismatic victory speech set the stage for a two-person contest that went to June and John Kerry’s 2004 late surge and Howard Dean’s collapse propelled Kerry to the nomination.
In Iowa (Feb. 3) and New Hampshire (Feb. 11) late polls have been volatile, with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Sanders exchanging the lead in each and Buttigieg surging and following back. One week out, it is now Sanders in the lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
Nevada (Feb. 22). In Nevada, Biden holds a 6 percent lead ahead of Sanders, but recent polls have it closer. The state has trended more Democratic in recent presidential elections and now 30 percent of the population is Hispanic.
South Carolina (Feb. 29). Biden has been ahead of the field in South Carolina and is now up 19 points over Sanders, largely because of steadfast African American support. This is the state Tom Steyer’s millions in spending has gotten him 8 percent and into the next debate.
California, Texas and 14 others states (Super Tuesday). California is the big prize on Super Tuesday (Mar. 3) with 415 delegates. Recent polls show the field reflects national trends, with Biden, Sanders and Warren in a tight three-way race. The latest Berkeley IGS poll has Sanders up by 6 over Warren with Biden in third. Texas, with 228 delegates, has been Biden’s county so far with a 12-point advantage over Warren, but polls are from December.
Although, today it appears a Biden vs. Sanders race for delegates, a surprise in Iowa or other early states could boost Sanders to a formidable lead or give Warren the momentum she currently lacks or even raise one of the second-tier candidates to stardom. And, of course, the billionaires are likely to stay in for a while regardless of the March 3 results.