Sanders fights to create momentum in New Hampshire

Although polls offer hope, a notoriously fickle New Hampshire voter and a need to finish strong are keeping on-the-ground volunteers working hard in Tuesday’s primary.

Speaking to AMI Newswire from the Red Arrow diner in Manchester, Dave Serret, a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, said there was a “lot of energy” around the area.

“There is a concern, any time a candidate is way up in the polls, that people will be complacent,” Sterret said. “We’re trying to create a sense of urgency … because the Clinton people will try to spin it as ‘oh, it was really close,’ so we’re trying to run up the scoreboard." 

University of New Hampshire political science professor Andy Smith said that a victory in New Hampshire historically gives candidates a 27 percent boost in share of delegates moving forward.

“The momentum you get from New Hampshire is critical,” Smith told AMI Newswire.

In a twist, Smith observed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a similar bump eight years ago when she took the state against then-rival Barack Obama, breathing new life into a campaign that, at the time, was faltering.

A sunny day throughout much of New Hampshire might help improve turnout, particularly among younger voters, which Smith said would favor Sanders’ campaign. Among this group, Sanders enjoys significant support over Clinton. Smith pointed out, however, that this is also the least likely group to get out and vote.

“If those turnout numbers are high, it could be a very good day for Bernie,” he said.

Speaking at a rally Monday at the University of New Hampshire, Sanders appealed to a youthful crowd to get themselves "and their friends” out to vote.

"There are people who are very wealthy, who are very powerful … they don’t want you to vote, they don’t want you to think about the important issues facing our country … they also think that young people aren’t going to participate in the political process,” Sander told the audience.  “I don’t believe that.”

The stakes are made that much higher after a review this week narrowed Clinton’s Iowa victory by a few tenths of a percent. Sanders at that time had argued that Clinton’s declaration of victory was “spin,” and touted the extent to which his campaign had closed a significant gap.

In the past week, Clinton’s ground game has moved to close a similar gap, with polls earlier this week showing Sanders with a 16-point victory; but on Monday, the same polls gave Sanders a mere 10-point victory.

Repeated emails to the Clinton campaign went unanswered as of Tuesday afternoon.

Graham Hebert, a student from Montreal, told AMI Newswire he enjoyed following American politics, as it has “so much more diversity, so much more drama,” than Canadian politics. He was canvassing for the Sanders campaign on Tuesday.

Smith, who also serves as the director the the University of New Hampshire survey center, warned that people should not put too much stock into the polls, and the end results will likely come down to the final moments.

“Voters make up their mind very late,” he said. “Last minute effects of the campaign don’t show up in the polls.”