Joe Biden’s campaign is latching New Hampshire polls that have him in third or fourth place after an Emerson College poll has him all the way down to fifth. It’s a sad state of affairs for the former Vice President when his best hope is to finish in the three, a feat he couldn’t accomplish during the Iowa caucus.
What makes it worse for Biden is knowing his main nemesis in the moderate lane is far ahead of him. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg finished in a virtual tie with Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa and seems to be the only one who has a chance of catching Sanders in New Hampshire. He’ll need a strong showing on Tuesday if he has a chance of competing in the next two contests—Nevada and South Carolina—where he’ll finally have to face a large minority Democratic voter base.
Should Biden finish third or fourth, he’ll be limping but he won’t necessarily be done. He still has a big lead in South Carolina and a slight lead in Nevada, though there is no recent data in the latter. A fifth place finish in New Hampshire could be enough to send him into a death spiral as Nevada supporters may choose not to show up for him to caucus. If he loses badly in Nevada, a big win in South Carolina won’t be enough to resuscitate his floundering campaign.
Another interesting finding from the poll is that Senator Amy Klobuchar leapfrogged not only Biden, but also Senator Elizabeth Warren. This follows another strong debate performance in which she scored some points against every major candidate while getting very little flack.
Biden’s collapse is reminiscent of Jeb Bush’s fall from grace in 2016. Both had heavy party establishment support. Both had name recognition. Both scored well with minorities. Both make gaffes. Neither will ever be President of the United States.