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Managed expectations

"Managed expectations" is a phrase you're hearing a lot on social media right now to describe the state of both primary races in New Hampshire. From the astronaut view, not much has really changed on the ground since Iowa. Trump and Cruz still dominate with Rubio attempting to gain...although he's in a somewhat shaky position after a poor debate performance. Hillary still leads nationally by double digits. Bernie Sanders is still expected to win a very white, liberal state near his home.

The lack of movement is probably the reason things have gotten so angry lately on the Democratic side. After a contentious review of Iowa delegate counts, both candidates ended up gaining, the results tightened slightly, but Clinton maintained her win. Which is frustrating on many levels for Sanders' supporters. They feel like they gained a lot of momentum, are looking good for NH, and deserve to be treated like a surging populist candidate. Fueled by a few outlying polls which do show a neck-and-neck race nationally, Sanders fanatics can point to the one poll Bernie does well and then complain bitterly about media bias and how the party is rigged for Hillary. It's devolved this week into online sexist bullying, accusations, insinuations, and we even got a full gloves-off debate with some fireworks about who really carries the progressive torch.

In New Hampshire, it's actually Bernie Sanders who has been "slipping" in the polls. Though, honestly, this is just natural tightening of the race before the vote. Sanders remains the heavy, heavy favorite to win. But "managed expectations" mean he's having to lower his down to the faintest hint of Hillary rising up to match him. Hillary, on the other hand, has to prepare her supporters for a probable loss while also keeping motivated enough to fight hard if it ends up being closer than it looks. We're a little more sure of NH than we are of Iowa, but NH voters are notorious for switching sides, minds, and their independence.

Managed expectations are going to have to meet up with reality very soon though. Hillary is still a huge favorite in South Carolina and the probable winner in Nevada. Then it's on to the March states where bigger delegate totals are at stake. If you look at the cumulative percent of delegates available, right now we're in the 3% range through February. By March 1, one quarter of all Democratic delegates will have been awarded. By March 15, half (50%). Currently, Hillary leads 385-29.

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