Donald Trump touted his strong Iowa poll numbers Sunday. The president tweeted a graphic of poll numbers showing him leading all major Democratic candidates. He did also claim to be leading in New Hampshire and “most states.”
But that’s not really true. The latest polls show Trump down in New Hampshire and head-to-head with Democrats (Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren, and Biden). For the Democratic New Hampshire primary, Buttigieg and Sanders are in a statistical dead heat for first.
On Monday, Donald Trump will visit the Granite State for one of his raucous campaign rallies. He faces an extremely long shot primary challenge in New Hampshire from former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. The upcoming rally is already causing a stir among Trump’s supporters there. While Democrats battle it out for New Hampshire, Trump is unlikely to win there in November. But he doesn’t need to.
New Hampshire voted Democrat in six out of the last seven presidential elections. Two of the three times the Republican won (Bush in 2000 and 2004, Trump in 2016), New Hampshire voted Democrat. But Iowa has picked the winning presidential candidate in every general election since 1992 with one exception.
Interestingly, the one time Iowa got it wrong was in 2000. That was the only year New Hampshire flipped red since the 1980s and picked the electoral college winner, George W. Bush. Other than the Al Gore slip up, as goes Iowa, so goes the electoral college.
Missouri is also a strong bellwether state, but not so much in recent years. The “Show Me state” ended a 50-year streak when it voted against Obama in both of his general elections. So its bellwether status isn’t so bright compared to Iowa’s of late.
While his New Hampshire claim is bunk, Donald Trump is leading every Democrat in Iowa polling . And he did carry the “Hawkeye state” in 2016. In years when an elected incumbent seeks reelection, Iowa has picked the winner every single time since the 1950s. That includes going with the electoral college rout of Jimmy Carter in 1980.
In another tweet Sunday morning, Donald Trump also attacked Democrats as “crazed,” unscrupulous, and dishonest. Obviously these characterizations are election year partisan attacks. But Democrats do seem, at least, to be driving each other crazy.
Joe Biden was openly frustrated with Pete Buttigieg on the recent New Hampshire debate stage. Some saw his combative tone as spirited and energetic. But Biden’s clash with Buttigieg over his record reminded others of Bob Dole’s 1988 clash over his record with George H. W. Bush the night before the New Hampshire primary. He lost to Bush the next day. And it was a novel campaign strategy for Joe Biden to open with:
I took a hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take a hit here.
On Sunday morning the two traded barbs in television interviews. Biden said Buttigieg is “no Obama.” Buttigieg retorted that neither is Joe Biden. The vice president is aiming his attacks at the newly emerged establishment favorite. “Wall Street Pete” has the billionaire receipts to prove it too . Bernie Sanders called him out for it during Friday’s debate:
The Democratic Party has a major unity problem going into 2020. It’s split down the middle between a more progressive candidate and a more moderate establishment pick. But the problem is worse than that. These two wings are themselves split between which candidate to carry their banner. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are preventing each other from prevailing over the progressive wing. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are dragging each other down against the establishment favorites.