But the polling that shows Sanders ahead also shows there are no guarantees: Pete Buttigieg has been rising fast behind him after their neck-and-neck race in Iowa, leaving Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden further back in the latest surveys. Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, has seen a fundraising boost and higher support in some polls since Friday’s debate at Saint Anselm College.
Here’s everything you need to know about Monday’s strategy, where the campaigns are and what they are doing. Our reporters will be fanned out across the state following all the top campaigns — so check back throughout the day as we update this story with key moments and new developments on the campaign trail.
2:20 p.m. in Nashua, N.H.
Klobuchar pitches small business plan to Rotary members
Klobuchar paid a visit to the Nashua Rotary Club Monday, a change of pace from the more energetic rally crowds she’s been drawing in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary. The senator won applause from Rotarians just finishing their lunch, deviating slightly from the normal stump speech to talk more about small business and touted her 14 years in the private sector as an attorney.
“We should be a country that makes stuff, which you do so well here in New Hampshire,” Klobuchar said. “Makes stuff, invents things and exports to the world.”
Klobuchar spoke of the Senate Entrepreneur Caucus she began last year with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in response to the decline of startups and the importance of antitrust regulations. Klobuchar told attendees she was opposed to free four-year college but would like to make apprenticeships and associate degrees free.
Klobuchar began Monday with a get-out-the-vote event in Keane. She has three more this afternoon in Exeter, Rochester and Manchester.
1:45 p.m. in Plymouth, N.H.
Buttigieg presses Sanders on Medicare for All
Buttigieg continued to press his case against Bernie Sanders, who leads in-state polling here by an even wider margin since Friday’s debate. The former South Bend mayor spoke to about 100 voters at Plymouth State Universty who were slip-sliding their way in from snowed-in streets.
Buttigieg, who started calling out Sanders and Biden by name in recent days, laid into Sanders again, questioning how he’d pay for Medicare for All.
Of the estimated $50 trillion the program would cost, “about half of it is unaccounted for, and there’s no explanation for where the other $25 trillion is supposed to come,” Buttigieg said. “How are we going to pay for it? Are we going to pay for it in the form of still further taxes, or are we going to pay for it in the form of broken promises?”
Buttigieg, for his part, said he’d go everywhere — including to Fox News — to make his case for Democrats, calling the move “a bit controversial within my party.” Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who has hosted televised town halls featuring Buttigieg, smiled on from the press section as Buttigieg spoke.
12:58 p.m. in Rindge, N.H.
Sanders gets help on the stump from Cynthia Nixon
Actress and activist Cynthia Nixon stumped for Sanders in New Hampshire for the first time Monday.
At Franklin Pierce University, Nixon, who ran in a primary against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018, made a subtle appeal to former Hillary Clinton voters. Nixon said she voted for Clinton in 2016 because she thought she was a “safe and secure” candidate, though she liked the Vermont senator’s ideas.
Now, she said: “The world has changed enormously in the last four years,” and not only because of President Donald Trump. “It’s changed, in my mind, because of what Bernie Sanders has shown is possible in this country.”
As Sanders has been doing, Nixon also implored the college students to turn out, saying that he would win in New Hampshire if there is large voter turnout, particularly among young people.
The crowd was enthusiastic for Sanders, chanting his name and cheering when he said numerous people can’t afford college tuition and “many others by the millions are leaving school deeply in debt — something wrong with that!” A woman shouted out, “I love you!”
Tracking polls: Sanders leads on eve of primary
Sanders is the unanimous, but not overwhelming, leader in polls conducted on the eve of the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary.
The polls generally show Sanders leading Buttigieg, while Klobuchar makes a last-minute charge to compete for a third-place finish with Biden and Warren.
Of the tracking polls conducted for media outlets, only a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll, released late Sunday night, was conducted entirely after last Friday’s debate in Goffstown, N.H. That survey, with interviews on Saturday and Sunday, showed Sanders leading Buttigieg, 27 percent to 19 percent. Klobuchar was third, at 14 percent, followed closely by Biden and Warren, each at 12 percent. No other candidate was above 3 percent, and 7 percent were undecided.
A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released Monday afternoon also showed Sanders leading Buttigieg by a similar margin, 29 percent to 22 percent. This poll, which includes two days of interviews before the debate and the two days immediately after, had Biden (11 percent), Warren (10 percent) and Klobuchar (7 percent) well behind the leaders.
The latest RealClearPolitics average — which includes other polls, one of which doesn’t meet POLITICO’s standards — shows Sanders leading Buttigieg by 6.5 points, with Warren (12.5 percent), Klobuchar (11.3 percent) and Biden (11.3 percent) in a close battle for third.
11:11 a.m. in Manchester, N.H.
Sanders keeps up contrast with Buttigieg on donors
Unlike Sunday, Sanders and his surrogates did not criticize Buttigieg by name at his first campaign stop Monday morning. But they did reference him implicitly at the event, a breakfast at a sports academy.
“You can have a guy who’s funded by corporations, by Wall Street, by the health care industry,” said Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen, a Sanders campaign co-chair. “Or you can pick the candidate who’s been funded by the millions of Americans who have been being screwed by the corporations, Wall Street financiers and the health care industry.”
Sanders has previously hit Buttigieg over the fact that several billionaires have contributed to him. Sanders’ campaign also released a negative video online on the issue.
On Monday, Sanders also sought to contrast his small-dollar fundraising powerhouse with his rivals’ big-ticket fundraisers, but without naming them.
“What we have done is change the nature of the game in terms of funding campaigns,” Sanders said. “Historically in America what candidates did is, ‘Oh, I need a lot of money, I’ll go to some billionaire, billionaire’s home, sit around, raise a lot of money.’ Even in the newspaper today, you can see candidates conferring with their donors.”
Sanders added: “You are my donors!” to cheers.
10:31 a.m. in Concord, N.H.
State Senate president boosts Biden
New Hampshire state Senate President Donna Soucy of Manchester tweeted Monday morning that she would vote for Biden, making her the second-highest ranking elected official to weigh in on the race in the first primary state.
“We need a strong, proven leader who can bring our country together and get things done,” she said. “Joe has the experience, the tenacity, and the empathy that we need in the White House.”
The tweet didn’t actually include the word “endorsement.” Soucy declined media interviews and there was no immediate plan for her to campaign for the former vice president.
Campaigns spent the better part of a year fighting for Soucy’s support. Besides her powerful elected role, Soucy is also a well-respected operative from the state’s largest city. Her choice of Biden isn’t entirely surprising, because she does significant work for the local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters as part of her day job. (New Hampshire part-time legislators are paid $100 a year though she gets an extra $25 a year for serving as president of her chamber.) The firefighters union endorsed Biden soon after he launched his presidential campaign.
The most senior New Hampshire Democrat to endorse in the presidential race, Rep. Annie Kuster, is supporting Pete Buttigieg.
Biden’s tough morning
Biden began the final day before the New Hampshire primary swatting away questions from CBS about his electability, his sagging poll numbers, his finances and a Republican effort to investigate his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“You’re always behind the 8-ball when you’re running in New Hampshire if you have two people from the neighboring states,” Biden explained when asked about his standing in the first primary state, where a non-neighboring state politician and former small town mayor, Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg, has surpassed him.
“I feel good about what what we’re doing up here,” Biden said.
Asked by CBS’s Gayle King if his campaign is having a “‘Houston we’re having a problem moment,” Biden denied it, saying that “no one has ever won the nomination as a Democrat without getting overwhelming support from the Latino community and the African American community. And we’re just getting to the game here.”
But “it’s also true that no one’s ever won the nomination after finishing out of the top two in Iowa and also out of the top two in New Hampshire, which according to polls is where you’re headed,” said CBS’ Tony Dokoupil. “So you’re making an electability pitch, if voters from these two states are not saying we want to elect this guy. Why should the other voters out there, listen?”
After Biden repeated his line about non-white voters who overwhelmingly favor him in South Carolina and Nevada, Dokoupil asked about Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and asked if Biden was concerned that Sen. Lindsey Graham told CBS News “the Justice Department is vetting information from Rudy Giuliani about your son’s work in Ukraine.”
Biden laughed at the mention of Rudy Giuliani, who has peddled numerous widely discredited conspiracy theories.
“No one has said [Hunter Biden’s] done anything wrong except the thug, Rudy Giuliani,” Biden said. “Come on, Rudy Giuliani? A character witness?”
Asked about reports he was running out of money, Biden denied that, too.
“We’ve been raising about a half a million dollars a day. We’re doing fine,” Biden said.
Biden campaign looking beyond New Hampshire
Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders told viewers on CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning that the former vice president “will still be in this race” no matter what happens on Tuesday.
“Regardless of what happens, we believe and we have said for a long time that this race absolutely runs through Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday,” Sanders said. “And it would be a mistake for the media to try to count Joe Biden out before other folks in this party have had their chance to have their say in this race.”
“The reality is that since 1992, the Democratic nominee in this party has been the person who has been able to garner a substantial amount of votes from African American voters,” Sanders added later. “You just don’t get those votes out of just Iowa and New Hampshire, John. So we’re here to say that this process does continue.”