(CNN) – This week, with the New Hampshire primary scheduled for Tuesday, Chris Cillizza presents the five most likely scenarios in the Democratic primary.
5. Klobuchar surprises in third or fourth place: The Minnesota Senator had an excellent debate on Friday night, with a final message about the need for a return to empathy in our politics and our country that was incredibly powerful.
Its performance has led to an increase in fundraising (more than 2 million dollars raised in the 14 hours after the debate!) That often, but not always, also coincides with an increase in surveys.
To date, the daily follow-up survey in New Hampshire has not picked up that kind of movement. But Klobuchar still has 48 hours to make something happen.
And to be clear, she needs something to happen. If Klobuchar is relegated to fifth place (as I was in Iowa), it is very difficult to see how he will continue in the race.
4. Warren is in a distant third place: The rumor of the presidential campaign of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren from her solid but not surprising third place in the Iowa party assemblies has been nonexistent.
And Warren’s numbers in New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders was once considered a favorite thanks to its geographical proximity, also seem to be in neutral.
Warren, at this time, seems on track to finish in a distant third place behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg (in some order). That is not good enough for an applicant who has not shown much appeal among non-white voters, since the primary process / party assembly is moving to much more diverse electorates in Nevada and South Carolina.
If Warren arrives in third place, there will be calls for her to withdraw and support Sanders, thus uniting the liberals behind a single candidate. (Those calls will be even stronger if Buttigieg defeats Sanders.) Will Warren listen?
3. Biden (bad) disappoints: Look, when the first thing you say in a debate four days before the New Hampshire primary is “I will probably get hit here,” you can’t feel very good about your position in the state.
Polls published since the former vice president finished fourth at the Iowa assemblies suggests that he also tends to decline in the Granite State. In fact, in the five most recent surveys in New Hampshire, Joe Biden gets no more than 13% and is in third or fourth place.
If Biden ends up behind Sanders, Buttigieg and Warren for the second time in eight days, he will begin calling for him to leave the race. Biden will probably ignore those calls, moving towards the most diverse electorates in Nevada (February 22) and South Carolina (February 29).
But his money, which was already declining, will be completely depleted, and the narrative around him will be declining. It is very difficult to return from that, no matter what the electorate looks like.
2. Buttigieg wins: Although the Iowa Democrats totally ruined party assemblies, it is now clear that the former mayor came out of the vote with real momentum.
A survey by CNN and the University of New Hampshire published on Saturday showed Buttigieg with 21%, compared to 15% in a similar survey conducted last month. Other data show a similar surge of support.
Buttigieg does not need to win New Hampshire to maintain that momentum: a second place closer than expected to Sanders would not be bad. But one victory could be enough to start moving the stagnant Buttigieg numbers between black and Hispanic voters in Nevada and South Carolina.
Without that movement, Buttigieg will not be the candidate, no matter what happened in Iowa and what happens in New Hampshire. But Buttigieg is trying his best to put himself in a place to solve that problem.
1. Bernie wins: Remember that Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary in 2016 by 22 points. And that he is from neighbor Vermont. And that virtually all credible surveys conducted from Iowa (and even before party assemblies) showed Sanders an advantage.
When you add all that up, it’s hard to see anything less than a first place for Sanders as a true victory here. Luckily for the Vermont senator (and his followers), he remains the favorite, despite Buttigieg’s clear momentum after Iowa.
While Sanders would probably prefer a broad victory like the one he won four years ago, that seems unlikely. And a victory, at this point, is a victory.