Dean Phillips’ Chances of Beating Joe Biden in New Hampshire: Latest Polls

Democratic presidential hopeful Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota appears to be facing an uphill battle in his long-shot bid to defeat incumbent President Joe Biden in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Although Biden remains deeply unpopular, and some polls have shown that a majority of Democrats would prefer an alternative candidate, Phillips has struggled to make headway since he announced his primary challenge at the end of October. The congressman launched his run by saying that he respected Biden and largely aligned with his agenda, however, he raised alarms about the president’s historically poor approval rating—saying that he believed the incumbent would lose in November.

In addition to Phillips, progressive author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson is in the running for the Democratic nomination. Recent polls out of New Hampshire show her with single-digit support. Meanwhile, Phillips remains underwater by double-digit margins against Biden.

Williamson and Phillips both hope to make a strong showing in New Hampshire, a state which Biden’s campaign all but abandoned. A rule change backed by Biden at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) required South Carolina to be the first primary state for the party, but New Hampshire’s state constitution requires its primaries to be the first in the nation.

Due to these conflicting factors, New Hampshire has been penalized by the DNC and its delegates won’t be counted. Biden also did not work to get ballot access in the state, but supporters have launched a write-in campaign. These complex and unusual circumstances have given Williamson and Phillips, whose names will be on the ballot, hope that they may ultimately be able to breakthrough and gain momentum for a strong performance.

Newsweek reached out via email to the Biden, Phillips and Williamson campaigns for comment.

In a December interview with Newsweek, Phillips said that he would surprise voters in New Hampshire.

“My numbers in New Hampshire are going to surprise people. And my numbers nationally will continue to grow as I introduce myself,” he said.

In a Saturday interview with Fox News, Williamson said a clear majority of Democrats want to hear from “other voices” and that “people do not appreciate the fact that the DNC has chosen to manipulate the process.”

Joe Biden and Dean Phillips
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Friday in Washington, D.C. Representative Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on Saturday in Nashua, New Hampshire. Phillips appears to be facing an uphill battle in his long-shot bid to defeat Biden in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.
Drew Angerer/Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Latest New Hampshire Polls

Polling released by CNN and the University of New Hampshire on Sunday showed Biden with a formidable lead, despite the fact that voters will have to write-in his name on the ballot.

The survey, which was carried out from January 16 to 19, showed that nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent, of likely Democratic primary voters plan to write-in Biden’s name. Meanwhile, 10 percent said they’d support Phillips and 9 percent said they’d back Williamson. An additional 11 percent said they’d cast their ballots for someone else. The sample of Democratic voters included 838 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points.

A previous poll by American Research Group conducted from January 12 to 15 had Phillips in a stronger position, but still well behind Biden. The data had the incumbent president 30 points ahead of his closest Democratic rival. In the poll, Biden had the backing of 58 percent of respondents. Phillips was at 28 percent and Williamson was at 3 percent. The survey included 600 likely voters.

Another poll from Emerson College, which was carried out from January 8 to 10, showed Biden 33 points ahead. Phillips had the support of 16 percent, while Williamson was at 5 percent. Biden was backed by 49 percent of respondents. The survey included 590 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

What Will Happen?

Despite his abysmal approval rating and his failure to get his name on New Hampshire’s ballot, Biden still appears likely to win in the state by a sizable margin. However, the result would serve more as a psychological win, as the delegates won’t ultimately be counted by the DNC. Some analysts think Biden needs a strong win regardless.

“Finishing with in the low 50 percent range or less would be an embarrassment. That kind of finish would demand that the Biden campaign must kick into a much higher gear to fend off Trump or Haley,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told Newsweek in a Sunday email.