Election results: Deciphering Victory for Joe Biden in New..
Election resultsJoe Biden


New Hampshire’s unsanctioned Democratic primary on January 23, 2024, presents a pivotal moment for President Joe Biden, testing his standing within the party. The challenge, however, lies in deciphering what victory truly means in this unconventional scenario, and how it will impact the upcoming election results.

The Challenge of Measuring Results

In this unique situation, a Biden victory might not translate into a clear triumph. His opponent, Dean Phillips, could lose and still claim momentum, adding a layer of complexity to the result interpretation and shaping expectations for the broader election results.

Unusual Circumstances

Biden’s strategic move to make South Carolina the first primary has led to his name not appearing on the New Hampshire ballot. Furthermore, the state’s defiance of the national party’s primary schedule adds an element of uncertainty. These circumstances will undoubtedly influence the early election results and set the tone for subsequent primaries.

Primary Challenges and Historical Analogies

Primary challenges have historically influenced assumptions about incumbent presidents. Phillips aims to replicate Eugene McCarthy’s unexpected 1968 showing, a historical analog that could force Biden out of the race. 

Analyzing the Election Results

Democratic strategists offer diverse opinions on what constitutes a victory. Some emphasize a specific percentage for Biden, while others argue any win is sufficient. Uncertainty prevails among political insiders, and this uncertainty will have ramifications for the interpretation of the election results.

Steve Shurtleff’s Perspective

Steve Shurtleff, a Phillips supporter, suggests Phillips needs around 40% for success, highlighting that if Biden falls below 60%, he’s in serious trouble. The Phillips campaign sets 42% as a barometer for success. 

Phillips Campaign Benchmark

The Phillips campaign draws parallels with McCarthy’s 1968 performance, indicating the importance of reaching 42%. Even some pro-Biden Democrats acknowledge this benchmark as realistic, shaping their expectations for the election results.

Democratic Strategists’ Views

Diverse opinions persist, with some suggesting any win is significant for Biden. Others remain uncertain about the criteria for victory, reflecting the perplexity surrounding this unique primary. The election results will be closely scrutinized based on these varied perspectives.

Second Perspective: Phillips Surprise Factor

A second perspective suggests Phillips may only need 30% to surprise observers, considering his status as a relative unknown. This viewpoint challenges traditional expectations, potentially leading to unexpected election results.

Make or Break in New Hampshire

Phillips’ entire bid hinges on a strong showing in New Hampshire. Extensive campaign efforts, including significant financial investments, underscore the critical nature of this state for his candidacy. The election results here will determine the trajectory of Phillips’ campaign.

Challenges of Sustaining Momentum

New Hampshire
Challenges of Sustaining Momentum

Even if Phillips performs well in New Hampshire, sustaining momentum remains challenging given the subsequent primary calendar. South Carolina, pivotal for Biden in 2020, and Nevada present different dynamics. The election results in New Hampshire will shape the narratives for the candidates moving forward.

Poll Numbers and Projections

Current polls indicate Phillips faces an uphill battle in reaching even 30%, let alone the campaign benchmark of 42%. Challenges persist for both candidates in solidifying voter support, and the election results will provide insights into the effectiveness of their strategies.

Biden’s Ceiling of Support

Historical percentages for former presidents vary, with some arguing Biden simply needs to win, citing the complexities of a write-in campaign. Comparisons to Obama and Clinton offer differing perspectives. These historical benchmarks will be vital in evaluating Biden’s election results and overall viability.

Complexities of a Write-In Campaign

Biden’s unique challenge with a write-in campaign adds complexities to victory criteria. Winning becomes paramount, requiring a delicate balance between engaging voters and navigating the intricacies of a non-traditional campaign. The election results will reflect the effectiveness of this unconventional strategy.


In conclusion, New Hampshire’s primary introduces a level of uncertainty in defining victory for Biden and Phillips. The diverse opinions among strategists reflect the nuanced nature of this unconventional electoral scenario. As the election results unfold, it will be crucial to analyze the impact of these uncertainties on the candidates’ strategies and future narratives.


  1. Q: What is the significance of New Hampshire’s unsanctioned Democratic primary?

    Ans: New Hampshire’s primary serves as a crucial test for President Biden’s standing within the Democratic Party, setting the stage for future primaries and influencing overall election results.

  1. Q: Why is Biden’s name not on the ballot in New Hampshire?

    Ans: Biden strategically pushed to make South Carolina the first primary, requiring voters to write him in, adding complexity to the electoral landscape.

  1. Q: What historical analogies are being drawn regarding Phillips’ campaign?

    Ans: Phillips aims to emulate Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 showing, where a strong performance forced then-President Johnson out of the race.

  1. Q: Why is the Phillips campaign benchmark set at 42%?

    Ans: The campaign draws parallels with McCarthy’s 1968 victory-in-defeat, considering 42% as a significant threshold for success.

  1. Q: How does the unconventional nature of the primary calendar impact candidate momentum?

    Ans: Post-New Hampshire, challenges arise in sustaining momentum due to the unique dynamics of subsequent primaries in South Carolina and Nevada, influencing the candidates’ strategies and potential election results.

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