It’s hard to compare one primary contest to another.
Each race has its own dynamics, and the 2008 contest among then-senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards was as different from this year’s race as the 2000 election between vice president Al Gore and former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley.
But if there’s one thing that we can compare, it’s the margin of victory between the first-placed candidate and the second-placed candidate. Exit polls showed that 12% more of the electorate considered themselves ‘liberal’ than the 2008 Democratic electorate, for example, an effect of growing political polarization that surely boosted Vermont senator Bernie Sanders into landslide territory.
But it was a landslide by this measure. The only primary victory that comes close to Sanders territory was then-Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis’s win in 1988 en route to the nomination (but not, alas, the presidency). Continue reading Just how massive was Sanders’s NH primary victory?