The final average of New Hampshire polls showed Bernie Sanders leading in New Hampshire by 7.4 points, but his margin of victory over Pete Buttigieg is 1.3 points with all but a handful of precincts left to count. Sanders’s margin over Buttigieg in the final popular vote in Iowa was almost identical: 1.4 points.
The Vermont socialist is obviously the frontrunner: He’s consolidating his wing of the party, while the rest of the party remains fractured. FiveThirtyEight gives him much better odds of winning a majority of pledged delegates than any other candidate.
The similarities between Sanders 2020 and Trump 2016 are indeed uncanny, but it’s worth keeping in mind some of the differences. While Sanders barely won New Hampshire, Trump carried the state by 20 points. In 2016, Trump followed up his New Hampshire blowout with a 22-point victory in Nevada and a ten-point victory in South Carolina. He had a lot of momentum heading into Super Tuesday, where he came in first in seven out of eleven races.
In 2016, Sanders won New Hampshire by 22 points but then went on to lose Nevada by five points and get crushed in South Carolina by 48 points. Nevada’s very powerful culinary union is now going to war with Sanders and warning its 60,000 members he wants to “end” their health insurance. So there are two good opportunities in February to blunt Sanders’s momentum before Super Tuesday.
With that said, yes, Sanders is in a very good position right now. If the field remains fractured, he has a great chance of winning the most delegates and votes. And even if he lacks a majority, it’s going to be very difficult to deny him the nomination if he has a significant plurality of delegates and votes.