Elizabeth Warren is in trouble if she doesn’t do well in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Elizabeth Warren’s Oval Office aspirations are on the line in New Hampshire, where another middling performance after Iowa could deal a significant blow to her campaign’s momentum and her chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

“She has to win,” said veteran pollster John Zogby. “If she can’t do well in her next-door state that in itself could be a fatal blow.”

More than halfway through the weeklong sprint to Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary, Warren’s campaign is showing signs of trouble.

The Massachusetts senator landed in the Granite State Tuesday claiming she was locked in a “tight, three-way race” with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa.

But as the results trickled in from the chaotic caucus, Warren ended up trailing eight points behind Sanders and Buttigieg. Mentions of the Hawkeye State disappeared from her stump speech. Her campaign pulled ad buys in Nevada and South Carolina to conserve funds, and sent out an email saying Warren was being outspent on New Hampshire’s airwaves. A new reality appeared to be setting in.

“There are a lot of folks who are going to talk about what’s not winnable, what can’t be done, and definitely about who can’t do it,” Warren told supporters during a canvass launch Saturday at Manchester Community College. “They’re going to talk about it right up until we get in that fight, we persist and we win.”

Strategists, pollsters and voters view Warren’s situation in the Granite State as a bit more dire.

“She must come in first or second. If she comes in third, her campaign is over,” said Republican strategist Ryan Williams, a former Mitt Romney aide. “If you can’t come in first or second being the neighboring state senators from Massachusetts in New Hampshire, your argument is shot.”

Romney was “supposed to win New Hampshire” in 2008, Williams continued. “We came in second after having led in the polls for many months. It just knocked the wind out of our sails.”

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