N.H. primary: Sanders holds narrow lead over Buttigieg; Warren and Biden crater

With about 80 percent of the New Hampshire vote counted, Bernie Sanders has a narrow lead over Pete Buttigieg, 26 percent to 24 percent. Amy Klobuchar is a solid third with 20 percent.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have cratered. Both are below 10 percent, with Warren edging out Biden for fourth place by a little more than 1 percentage point.

The top stories are obvious. Sanders and Buttigieg have dominated the field in both of the first two states. They are now the frontrunners.

Klobuchar, whom I had written off after Iowa, is still alive. The campaigns of Warren and Biden are on life support, especially Warren’s. Unlike Biden, she can’t even dream of bouncing back in South Carolina.

To me the most interesting thing about tonight’s race is that even with Warren cratering, Sanders failed to expand his support beyond its 25 percent core of the young and the bitter. Apparently, he picked up few votes from the 5 to 10 percent of the electorate that abandoned Warren in the last month or two.

Where did these voters go? Mostly to Klobuchar, it seems.

Sisterhood may not be powerful, but it was enough to trump leftist ideology in New Hampshire. Sisterhood plus education beyond high school.

Where did the 10 percent or more of voters who abandoned Biden go? It looks like most of them moved to Buttigieg or Klobuchar.

If Sanders holds on to win this primary, which seems very likely in terms of popular vote anyway, it will be a good night for him by definition. However, his inability to hit 30 percent must have disappointed him.

Recall that Sanders won the 2016 primary with 60 percent of the vote, more than twice his share this time. Where did voters who abandoned him go? Obviously not in large numbers to the other hard left candidate, Elizabeth Warren. Thus, the assumption that Sanders will be in the driver’s seat if he has the left lane to himself can be questioned.

The key going forward is how African-Americans will vote. They have yet to be heard from.

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