This Week in Politics: New Hampshire and Beyond

NH GraphicThis past week, Feb. 8-Feb. 15,  New Hampshire was on everyone’s mind. On both sides, victory was a landslide, with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders winning in their respective primaries. Both victories are incredible milestones for both candidates’ campaign, as both Trump and Sanders were seen as political outsiders when they announced their respective runs.

Trump NHTrump, having 35% of the vote in the republican primary, finished at more than double that of his nearest competitor, John Kasich, who finished at 16%. Trump, who has never run for public office, and whose campaign was initially believed to be an intense media stunt, is ahead in the national republican poll. Kasich, on the other hand, who is polling at only four percent nationally, may have revitalized his campaign with his second place victory in New Hampshire. This week also marked the end of the road for republican presidential candidates – N.J. governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard chairperson Carly Fiorina, both of who only polled ahead of Ben Carson and had fewer than eight percent of the vote in New Hampshire.

PORTSMOUTH, NH - FEBRUARY 07: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks at a campaign rally at Great Bay Community College on February 7, 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Sanders is hoping to win the New Hampshire democratic primary on Tuesday. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

On the democratic side, Sanders beat Hillary Clinton 60% to 38%, a victory that may have lasting consequences for the Clinton campaign. After the democratic candidate’s near tie last week in Iowa, Clinton supporters were worried; with Sanders’s landslide victory in New Hampshire, it is clear that he is gaining momentum, and is a force to be reckoned with. Having believed to be a fringe candidate when his race started, self described democratic-socialist Sanders has earned his first victory, proving that he has an audience, and that Clinton may not have such an easy ride to the White House. Sanders’s victory also marked the first win in a primary by a Jewish candidate in American history.

Over the next few weeks, the next stops for presidential candidates are Nevada and South Carolina. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, the Republican and Democratic primaries in both of these states are held on separate days. While Trump leads in both states, it’s tough to tell who will emerge victorious, it’s really too early to tell based on the current polling data. Nevada may very well be another Iowa for democrats, as Sanders and Clinton are neck-and-neck in the state’s polls. South Carolina, on the other hand has always been an “establishment” state, the people in South Carolina are historically conservative, even on the democratic side, which means Clinton has a strong advantage. Still, if Sanders has taught us anything, it’s that his supporters are ardent, and that most young Americans are fed up with establishment politics; if nothing else, I wouldn’t put a win in South Carolina past Sanders. This entire election season shows that polls can be unreliable, and that this election is anyone’s game.