By Ted O’Neil | The Center Square
With voting completed in the first two of the “early four” states — Iowa and New Hampshire — the focus of the remaining Democratic candidates has shifted to Nevada, which will hold its caucuses Saturday.
Beyond Nevada, the South Carolina primary will be Feb. 29, followed by 16 states voting in the March 3 Super Tuesday.
The average of polls taken in Nevada over the past few months shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with a healthy lead at 25 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden stands at 15.7 percent, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10 percent.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at 8.3 percent and businessman Tom Steyer 6.3 percent. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard round out the field at 4.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
A survey from two weeks ago found minority women in Nevada support Sanders at 24 percent and Biden at 22 percent. The poll was sponsored by She The People and said minority women make up 26 percent of the Democratic electorate in Nevada.
Steyer and Warren were the only other candidates to register double figures in that poll, at 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
“It’s important that Iowa and New Hampshire have spoken, but we need to hear from Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday and beyond,” Biden said at a rally in South Carolina last week.
Biden finished in fifth place in New Hampshire, behind Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Warren.
Sanders and Buttigieg each claimed victory in Iowa, with Buttigieg securing more state delegate equivalents and Sanders winning more popular votes. Warren finished third in Iowa, followed by Biden and Klobuchar.
The Nevada caucuses, which begin at noon PST on Feb. 22, will be similar to the Iowa caucuses in some way, and very different in other ways.
For starters, Nevada will not use the failed smartphone app that caused problems in Iowa, even though the state Democratic Party had paid the development company $50,000. Nevada Democrats also are holding an early voting period, which began Saturday and continues through Tuesday.
As in Iowa, caucusgoers will form preference groups for candidates at their precinct locations. A first alignment headcount will be taken, and candidates with less than 15 percent support are declared inviable.
That is followed by a period of “electioneering” where supporters of viable candidates try to persuade supporters of inviable candidates to join them. A final alignment headcount is taken, which will determine the number of delegates each candidate receives to the respective county conventions.