Iowa and New Hampshire finishes of

non-incumbents who went on to win their

parties’ nominations, 1972–2016

Year

Candidate

Iowa

N.H.

1st

2016

H. Clinton

2nd

D

Trump

2

1

R

2012

Romney

2

1

R

2008

Obama

2

1

D

McCain

4

1

R

2004

Kerry

1

1

D

2000

Gore

1

1

D

W. Bush

1

2

R

1996

Dole

1

2

R

1992

B. Clinton

3

2

D

1988

Dukakis

3

1

D

H.W. Bush

3

1

R

1984

Mondale

1

2

D

1980

Reagan

2

1

R

1976

Carter

1

1

D

McGovern

2

1972

2

D

Sources: Archive.org, University of New Hampshire,

AP, Des Moines Register

If history is any guide, either Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg will be the Democratic Party’s choice to face President Trump. Since 1972, no candidate from either party has placed below second in both Iowa and New Hampshire and won the nomination.

While relatively few delegates have been allocated, three other candidates who have earned them so far — former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — will need to overcome historical precedent to win. So will Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who declined to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire and is instead betting his campaign on an untested delegate strategy beginning in March.

Biden’s fourth-place finish in Iowa is no worse than John McCain’s in 2008. Yet McCain went on to win New Hampshire before taking the Republican nomination, while Biden fell to fifth place there.

Nor can Biden find much encouragement in Bill Clinton’s successful run in 1992. Though Clinton lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, his results were better than expected, enough to boost his profile and make him a contender in later contests.

Clinton’s “comeback kid” narrative seems to fit Klobuchar better than it fits the former vice president, who has underperformed expectations.


Then-Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton hugs his wife, Hillary, at Clinton's election night party in Merrimack, N.H., in 1992. He finished second in that primary. During his speech, Clinton termed himself “the comeback kid.” (Ron Frehm/AP)

United States population

Black

Other

White 61%

18%

12%

Hispanic

Asian

Iowa

86%

6

3

New Hampshire

90%

4

Nevada

50%

29%

9%

8%

South Carolina

64%

6

27%

After dominating the field in Georgia, South Carolina and other early Southern states, Clinton went on to win 37 total states, the nomination and the presidency.

Biden is hoping his polling lead among black voters will deliver a similar boost in the South, where they make up a larger portion of the electorate than in heavily white Iowa and New Hampshire. Biden flew to South Carolina before the votes in New Hampshire had been counted.

“Up until now, we haven’t heard from the most committed constituency of the Democratic Party: the African American community,” he said in remarks to supporters Tuesday night.

Biden’s favorability among black voters led the field in early January, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos KnowledgePanel poll. Yet Sanders, a leading contender for the nomination, was not far behind.

Black Democrats give most-positive

ratings to Biden, Sanders and

Warren

How favorable is your opinion

of each of the following Democratic

presidential candidates?

No opinion/

Never heard of

Favorable

Unfavorable

78%

Biden

11

11

71

13

17

Sanders

58

10

32

Warren

30

17

53

Buttigieg

25

12

62

Klobuchar

33

23

44

Bloomberg

Source: Jan. 2-8, 2020, Washington Post-Ipsos

KnowledgePanel survey of 876 black Democrats

and Democratic-leaning independents

with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Black Democrats give most-positive ratings

to Biden, Sanders and Warren

How favorable is your opinion of each of the

following Democratic presidential candidates?

No opinion/

Never heard of

Favorable

Unfavorable

78%

Biden

11

11

71

13

17

Sanders

58

10

32

Warren

30

17

53

Buttigieg

25

12

62

Klobuchar

33

23

44

Bloomberg

Source: Jan. 2-8, 2020, Washington Post-Ipsos KnowledgePanel survey

of 876 black Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents

with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Black Democrats give most-positive ratings to Biden,

Sanders and Warren. Many are unfamiliar with others.

How favorable is your opinion of each of the following Democratic

presidential candidates?

No opinion/

Never heard of

Favorable

Unfavorable

78%

Biden

11%

11%

71

13

17

Sanders

58

10

32

Warren

30

17

53

Buttigieg

25

12

62

Klobuchar

33

23

44

Bloomberg

Source: Jan. 2-8, 2020, Washington Post-Ipsos KnowledgePanel survey of 876 black Democrats

and Democratic-leaning independents with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Warren, like Biden, fared worse in New Hampshire than Iowa. Unlike Sanders, her New England ties failed to help her with Granite State voters.

Only Sanders and Klobuchar can point to improvements in their positions from Iowa to New Hampshire. Still, if precedent holds, Klobuchar’s move from fifth to third hardly spells victory.

Meanwhile, Andrew Yang, after placing sixth in Iowa and eighth in New Hampshire, dropped out of the race Tuesday night. Should Biden, Warren and Klobuchar fail to gain traction in the next few weeks, they will probably follow Yang to the exits.

Early state results

and candidate

dropouts since 1992

Democrats

Only primaries without an incumbent

are shown.

2020

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Buttigieg

Sanders

Warren

Biden

Klobuchar

Yang

Steyer

The candidate

exits the race

2016

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

H. Clinton

Sanders

O’Malley

2008

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Obama

Edwards

Clinton

Richardson

Biden

2004

Mini

Tuesday

Mich. and

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Kerry

Edwards

Dean

Gephardt

Kucinich

Clark

2000

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Wash.

Gore

Bradley

1992

Iowa

N.H.

Maine

S. D.

Harkin

Tsongas

B. Clinton

Kerrey

Brown Jr.

NOTE: In 2004, after the N.H. primary,

several states held primaries on Feb. 3.

Edwards, Dean and Clark ended their

campaigns within a month after the

Mini-Tuesday.

Early state results and candidate

dropouts since 1992

Democrats

Only primaries without an incumbent are shown.

2020

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Buttigieg

Sanders

Warren

Biden

Klobuchar

Yang

Steyer

The candidate

exits the race

2016

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

H. Clinton

Sanders

O’Malley

2008

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Obama

Edwards

Clinton

Richardson

Biden

2004

Mini

Tuesday

Mich. and

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Kerry

Edwards

Dean

Gephardt

Kucinich

Clark

2000

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Wash.

Gore

Bradley

1992

Iowa

N.H.

Maine

S. D.

Harkin

Tsongas

B. Clinton

Kerrey

Brown Jr.

NOTE: In 2004, after the N.H. primary, several states

held primaries on Feb. 3. Edwards, Dean and Clark

ended their campaigns within a month after the

Mini-Tuesday.

Early state results and candidate dropouts since 1992

Democrats

Only primaries without an incumbent are shown.

2020

2016

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

H. Clinton

Buttigieg

Sanders

Sanders

Warren

O’Malley

Biden

Klobuchar

Yang

Steyer

The candidate

exits the race

2008

2004

Mini

Tuesday

Mich. and

Wash.

Iowa

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

N.H.

Obama

Kerry

Edwards

Edwards

Clinton

Dean

Richardson

Gephardt

Biden

Kucinich

Clark

2000

1992

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Maine

S. D.

Gore

Harkin

Bradley

Tsongas

B. Clinton

Kerrey

Brown Jr.

NOTE: In 2004, after the N.H. primary, several states held primaries on Feb. 3. Edwards,

Dean and Clark ended their campaigns within a month after the Mini-Tuesday.

720

Early state results and candidate dropouts since 1992

Democrats

Only primaries without an incumbent are shown.

2020

2016

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

H. Clinton

Buttigieg

Sanders

Sanders

Warren

O’Malley

Biden

Klobuchar

Yang

Steyer

The candidate

exits the race

2008

2004

Mini

Tuesday

Mich. and

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Iowa

N.H.

Obama

Kerry

Edwards

Edwards

Clinton

Dean

Richardson

Gephardt

Biden

Kucinich

Clark

2000

1992

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Maine

S. D.

Gore

Harkin

Bradley

Tsongas

B. Clinton

Kerrey

Brown Jr.

NOTE: In 2004, after the N.H. primary, several states held primaries on Feb. 3. Edwards, Dean and Clark

ended their campaigns within a month after the Mini-Tuesday.

Early state results and candidate dropouts since 1992

Democrats

Only primaries without an incumbent are shown.

2020

2016

2008

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

Iowa

N.H.

Nev.

S.C.

H. Clinton

Obama

Buttigieg

Sanders

Sanders

Edwards

Warren

O’Malley

Clinton

Biden

Richardson

Klobuchar

Biden

Yang

Steyer

The candidate

exits the race

2004

2000

1992

Mini

Tuesday

Mich. and

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Wash.

Iowa

N.H.

Maine

S. D.

Kerry

Gore

Harkin

Edwards

Tsongas

Bradley

B. Clinton

Dean

Gephardt

Kerrey

Kucinich

Brown Jr.

Clark

NOTE: In 2004, after the N.H. primary, several states held primaries on Feb. 3. Edwards, Dean and Clark ended their campaigns within a month

after the Mini-Tuesday.

Republicans

2016

Iowa

Nev.

N.H.

S.C.

Cruz

Trump

Rubio

Carson

Paul

Bush

Kasich

2012

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Fla.

Santorum

Romney

Paul

Gingrich

Perry

Bachmann

Huntsman

2008

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Huckabee

Romney

Thompson

McCain

Paul

Giuliani

2000

Alaska

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Bush

Forbes

McCain

Keyes

Bauer

Hatch

1996

Alaska

La.

Iowa

N.H.

Buchanan

Forbes

Dole

Keyes

Gramm

Alexander

Dole, Forbes and Alexander

did not compete in La.

Source: State election data

and Smart Politics

Republicans

2016

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Cruz

Trump

Rubio

Carson

Paul

Bush

Kasich

2012

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Fla.

Santorum

Romney

Paul

Gingrich

Perry

Bachmann

Huntsman

2008

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Huckabee

Romney

Thompson

McCain

Paul

Giuliani

2000

Alaska

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Bush

Forbes

McCain

Keyes

Bauer

Hatch

1996

Alaska

La.

Iowa

N.H.

Buchanan

Forbes

Dole

Keyes

Gramm

Alexander

Dole, Forbes and Alexander

did not compete in Lousiana.

Source: State election data and Smart Politics

Republicans

2016

2012

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Fla.

Cruz

Santorum

Trump

Romney

Rubio

Paul

Carson

Gingrich

Paul

Perry

Bush

Bachmann

Huntsman

Kasich

2008

2000

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Alaska

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Bush

Huckabee

Forbes

Romney

McCain

Thompson

McCain

Keyes

Bauer

Paul

Hatch

Giuliani

1996

Alaska

La.

Iowa

N.H.

Buchanan

Forbes

Dole, Forbes and

Alexander did not

compete in Lousiana.

Dole

Keyes

Gramm

Alexander

Source: State election data and Smart Politics

Republicans

2016

2012

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Fla.

Cruz

Santorum

Trump

Romney

Rubio

Paul

Carson

Gingrich

Paul

Perry

Bush

Bachmann

Huntsman

Kasich

2008

2000

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Alaska

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Bush

Huckabee

Romney

Forbes

Thompson

McCain

McCain

Keyes

Paul

Bauer

Giuliani

Hatch

McCain became the nominee after

coming in fourth in Iowa.

1996

Alaska

La.

Iowa

N.H.

Buchanan

Forbes

Dole, Forbes and

Alexander did not

compete in Lousiana.

Dole

Keyes

Gramm

Alexander

Source: State election data and Smart Politics

Republicans

2016

2012

2008

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Fla.

Iowa

N.H.

S.C.

Nev.

Cruz

Santorum

Huckabee

Trump

Romney

Romney

Rubio

Paul

Thompson

Carson

Gingrich

McCain

Paul

Perry

Paul

Bush

Bachmann

Giuliani

Huntsman

Kasich

McCain became the

nominee after coming

in fourth in Iowa.

2000

1996

Alaska

Iowa

N.H.

Del.

Alaska

La.

Iowa

N.H.

Bush

Buchanan

Forbes

Forbes

Dole, Forbes and

Alexander did not

compete in Lousiana.

Dole

McCain

Keyes

Keyes

Bauer

Gramm

Hatch

Alexander

Source: State election data and Smart Politics

Since 1992, candidates who fared poorly in the two early states usually stayed in the race until additional poor showings confirmed defeat. If Sanders or Buttigieg continue apace in Nevada and South Carolina, the field will probably begin to narrow.

That is unless Bloomberg’s campaign strategy, based on defying the conventional path to the nomination, proves successful. Bloomberg entered the race late and declined to participate in Iowa and New Hampshire, or even in Nevada and South Carolina, the next two states to vote.

In Bloomberg’s calculus, winning the nomination is about winning delegates, and neither Iowa nor New Hampshire provide many delegates to the convention.

Delegate count

after Iowa and New Hampshire

Buttigieg

23

Sanders

21

Warren

8

Klobuchar

7

Biden

6

Bloomberg

0

Delegate count

after Iowa and New Hampshire

23

Buttigieg

21

Sanders

8

Warren

7

Klobuchar

6

Biden

0

Bloomberg

Delegate count after Iowa and New Hampshire

Buttigieg

23

Sanders

21

Warren

8

Klobuchar

7

Biden

6

Bloomberg

0

Instead of focusing on early states, Bloomberg has been spending his time and significant financial resources on later states, betting that he can make an impressive showing on March 3, Super Tuesday, when 14 states, including delegate-rich California, will hold primaries.

3,979

4,000 delegates

3,000

2,000

Super Tuesday

1,357 delegates

1,000

0

FEB.

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

3,979

4,000 delegates

3,000

2,000

Super Tuesday

1,357 delegates

1,000

Iowa Caucuses

41 delegates

0

FEB.

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

3,979

4,000 delegates

3,000

2,000

Super Tuesday

1,357 delegates

1,000

Iowa Caucuses

41 delegates

0

FEB.

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

Notes on the data: The Republican Party did not caucus in Iowa in 1972. In 1976, New Hampshire was the fourth state to vote, coming after not just Iowa but also Mississippi and Oklahoma, which also held caucuses. Votes for “uncommitted” in the Iowa Democratic caucuses of 1972, 1976, 1992 and 1996 were not counted.

Dan Keating and Ted Mellnik contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Andrew Yang’s position in New Hampshire. He finished eighth, not seventh. It also misstated the early number of delegates won by Pete Buttigieg, which is 23, not 26.