2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary

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The 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary was the second contest in the Democratic Party in the process of nominating a Presidential candidate for the 2020 general election, and the first actual primary election (as opposed to the Iowa caucuses of the previous week). It took place on Tuesday, February 11, with 24 state delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention up for grabs. Socialist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders narrowly won over homosexual Pete Buttigieg.


The New Hampshire primary is a "semi-closed" primary, in that both registered Democrats and undeclared or "independent" voters can cast a ballot, but not those voters who are registered as Republicans or members of another party. The state has relatively lax requirements for a candidate to appear on the ballot--only the payment of a $1,000 fee is required--hence, a total of 33 candidates will officially take part in the primary.

On the day of the election, polls were open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST, although only the thirteen designated cities in the state were allowed to remain open until 8:00 p.m.; in all other localities, polls closed at 7:00 p.m. New Hampshire will be represented by a total of 33 delegates at the DNC in July, of which nine are unpledged to any candidate and will include the state's four representatives in Congress and five DNC members. The remaining 24 were pledged to the candidates on a proportional basis in accordance with the results of the election. These 24 delegates are further subdivided into three equal groups: eight for each of the state's two congressional districts (16 total), and eight for the state at large. Delegate pledging is determined according to the primary vote statewide as well as in each district.

As is true in all Democratic presidential primaries, a candidate must receive at least 15% of the vote on either the district or state level to be awarded any delegates.[1]


Almost without exception, Vermont senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders led in the polls since mid-January, except for one showing him in a tie with former Vice-President Joe Biden, one showing a tie with Pete Buttigieg, and one giving the lead to Buttigieg alone. The most recent poll, from Emerson College (February 7-8), showed Sanders in the lead with 30%, followed by Buttigieg at 20%, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar at 13%, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren at 12%, Biden at 11%, and all others at less than 5% each.[2] Another poll, from WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University, showed a narrower lead for Sanders, with 24%, followed by Buttigieg, Warren, Biden, and Klobuchar, with 22, 13, 10, and 9% respectively.[3]

The most recent poll aggregators suggested a lead for Sanders, with 26-27%, followed closely by Buttigieg, Warren, and Biden.

Poll aggregator Polling date Bernie Sanders Pete Buttigieg Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Amy Klobuchar Tulsi Gabbard Andrew Yang Tom Steyer Other Undecided
270 to Win February 4-8, 2020 27.2% 21.8% 13.0% 11.6% 9.2% 3.0% 3.2% 2.2% 2.1% 6.7%
RealClear Politics February 3-8, 2020 26.7% 21.5% 13.0% 12.5% 9.2% 3.2% 3.3% 2.3% 0.5% 7.8%
FiveThirtyEight to February 8, 2020 26.3% 20.7% 12.8% 12.8% 8.8% 3.3% 2.8% 2.7% 3.4% 6.4%
Average -- 26.7% 21.3% 12.9% 12.3% 9.1% 3.2% 3.1% 2.4% 2.0% 7.0%

Forums and Debates

Eight presidential debates among the leading candidates were held, the last on February 7. Some of the lesser-known candidates took part in a couple of separate forums, including one in Manchester on January 8.[4]


Compared to the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary went much more smoothly in the tabulation of votes, though the determination of a winner took longer than past primaries in the state, due to an unexpectedly close race between Sanders and Buttigieg. News agencies called the race at about 11:20 PM EST, with approximately of 80% of precincts reporting.

Candidate Votes received Vote percentage Delegates received Delegate percentage
Bernie Sanders 75,404 25.81% 9 37.5%
Pete Buttigieg 71,464 24.46% 9 37.5%
Amy Klobuchar 57,979 19.84% 6 25.0%
Elizabeth Warren 27,078 9.27% 0 0.0%
Joe Biden 24,540 8.40% 0 0.0%
Tom Steyer 10,454 3.58% 0 0.0%
Tulsi Gabbard 9,574 3.28% 0 0.0%
Andrew Yang 8,230 2.82% 0 0.0%
Write-ins 3,943 1.35% 0 0.0%
Deval Patrick 1,252 0.43% 0 0.0%
Michael Bennet 950 0.33% 0 0.0%
Other 1,319 0.45% 0 0.0%

Sanders won seven of the state's ten counties, with his highest margin of victory coming in Cheshire County (31.4%, versus 21.3% for Buttigieg). Buttigieg won the remaining three counties, doing best in Rockingham County with 26.7% of the vote.[5]

Though the strong performance by Sanders and Buttigieg was expected by most, given their success in the Iowa caucuses, the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishes were. Klobuchar, who until recently had been considered an also-ran, experienced a significant surge in the days before the primary, collecting a solid 20% of the vote and winning a plurality in many towns.[6] By contrast, Warren, who had been expected to perform well in a state neighboring her own, failed to win even a tenth of the vote, a result that led many political commentators to state that her campaign was effectively over. Meanwhile, Biden, who performed even more poorly with 8.4% of the vote, left the state even before the results were known, vowing to launch a comeback in Nevada and South Carolina, claiming that their higher minority populations would be more supportive of his campaign. Nonetheless, it was widely agreed that his campaign, like Warren's, was "now almost certain to fail."[7]

The New Hampshire primary was seen as reinforcing Bernie Sanders' status as the effective Democratic frontrunner, and raising the prospect of a civil war within the party between Sanders and his fellow socialists, and the globalist donor class who see an openly socialist platform as a certain loss in the general election.[8]