Exactly one month before yesterday's New Hampshire presidential primaries, FiveThirtyEight pointed to a landscape that showed Joe Biden leading the Democrats' field, followed closely by Bernie Sanders. Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren were close behind, while Amy Klobuchar was much further back, with support around 5% -- roughly a fourth of the kind of backing the former vice president enjoyed.
With 95 percent of precincts reported, Sanders had 26 percent, or 71,950 votes; Buttigieg was at 24.4 percent, or 67,577 votes; Klobuchar had 19.7 percent, or 54,609 votes; Warren had 9.3 percent, or 25,765 votes; and Biden was at 8.4 percent, or 23,205 votes, according to the NBC News tally.
Candidates need to reach the 15% threshold to qualify for delegates, which means Warren and Biden have little to show for their efforts in the Granite State.
As the political world's focus shifts to the next two contests -- Nevada's caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina's primary on Feb. 29 -- I think it's probably fair to say each of the candidates is dealing with some good news and some bad news. In the order in which they finished in New Hampshire:
For Bernie Sanders, the good news is he's now the frontrunner for the Democrats' presidential nomination, joining a small circle of candidates who've ever won both Iowa and New Hampshire. He also has a ton of money in his campaign coffers and continues to benefit from a loyal base of solid support. The bad news is, yesterday's win was smaller than expected; he doesn't appear to have expanded much beyond his base; and he still faces widespread skepticism from much of the party's contingents.
For Pete Buttigieg, the good news is he's finished a very close second in both of the first two nominating contests; he's no longer seen as a fluke; and in the delegate count, the former mayor is actually leading the Democratic field. The bad news is, his "lane" remains pretty crowded, and it's not yet clear if he has the national organization needed for the next round of contests.
For Amy Klobuchar, the good news is her unexpectedly strong showing last night has put her in serious contention, arguably vaulting her from the second to the first tier. The bad news is, she's going to need considerably more money to seriously compete in Super Tuesday races, and like Buttigieg, there are real questions about the strength of her national organization.
For Elizabeth Warren, the good news is she did quite well in Iowa -- a fact that was quickly overshadowed by the state caucus' fiasco -- and remains one of the half-dozen candidates who can still seriously compete for the nomination. The bad news is, she's slid badly of late; she couldn't crack double-digits in a neighboring state where she was in the lead as recently as the fall; and there's little to suggest she's well positioned to bounce back in Nevada or South Carolina.
For Joe Biden, the good news is Iowa and New Hampshire are over. The bad news is, he went from first to fifth in the Granite State very quickly; the perception of him as the frontrunner is gone; and if he falls short in Nevada and South Carolina, he will face considerable pressure to quit. All along, Biden's focus has been on electability -- a message that's shattered by distant defeats.
For Tom Steyer, the good news is he's actually well positioned for a decent showing in South Carolina. The bad news is, the California billionaire, making his first bid for public office, invested millions in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Democrats in both states apparently weren't buying what he was selling.
For Tulsi Gabbard, the good news is she did much better in New Hampshire than in Iowa. The bad news is, she actually tried to seriously compete in the latter, but finished a distant seventh.
For Mike Bloomberg, the good news is his support keeps growing at the national level; he's receiving an unexpected number of congressional endorsements from Democrats in competitive districts; and he has a limitless supply of money. The bad news is, his non-existent showings in each of the first four contests offer no evidence he knows how to compete in statewide races.
For Deval Patrick, the good news is he met expectations in New Hampshire. The bad news is, the expectations were low, and there's little to suggest he'll be able to seriously compete anywhere else.