Heading for what appears to be a third place showing or worse, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is counting on her vaunted ground game to right her struggling campaign in New Hampshire.
Warren is locked in third place at just 16%, according to a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald-NBC10Boston poll, but faces a rising Amy Klobuchar, who has passed her in other recent polling.
A fourth or fifth place finish in the Granite State — neighbor to her home state of Massachusetts — would be devastating for Warren and could cause her campaign to implode.
She is vowing to fight on in other states but it’s hard to see where she can regain her footing. She’s trailing by a wide margin in Nevada and South Carolina — the next two contests — and is not even a lock in her home state, where Bernie Sanders is strong.
Massachusetts is part of the Super Tuesday voting on March 3 but even a good delegate haul there won’t be enough — Warren needs to win somewhere else outside New England.
The liberal Massachusetts senator has built what her campaign claims is the best field organization of any of the Democratic contenders and that will be severely tested in the coming days.
Strong organizing can only take you so far in open primaries like the one in New Hampshire, where independent voters and late-breaking voters tend to dominate.
Warren failed to get any kind of bump from the chaos in Iowa and instead saw Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders get most of the attention coming out of the Hawkeye State.
Buttigieg and Sanders are in a dead heat in New Hampshire, according to the new Franklin Pierce-Herald-NBC10Boston poll, with Sanders at 23% and Buttigieg at 20%.
But it appears that Buttigieg’s momentum may have stalled in recent days as he’s come under sharp attack from Sanders, Joe Biden and even billionaire businessman Tom Steyer.
Warren’s biggest problem is Sanders, who is far and away the leader among self-described liberal voters, the poll shows.
And Warren has staked out positions on health care and other issues so far to the left that she’s blocked herself out from getting more moderate voters. Without a clear lane to herself, Warren’s campaign will continue to founder — in New Hampshire and beyond.