State delegate equivalents, the measure that has gotten by far the most attention from the media because it’s traditionally the way that Iowa has counted its vote, showed Buttigieg ahead 27 to 25 percent, with 62 percent of precincts reporting. But Sanders narrowly led in two measures of the popular vote, taken before and after voters were given the opportunity to realign to a new candidate if their original choice was deemed not viable.
If the split verdict holds, it will be an appropriately weird outcome for a weird-as-hell Iowa caucus.
…Buttigieg probably needs to win New Hampshire — or come very close to doing so — because the states that follow aren’t good for him. He’s polling at just 6 percent in Nevada and only 4 percent in South Carolina. In other words, it’s highly unlikely, even if Buttigieg does get a big Iowa bounce, that he can win those states (especially South Carolina, given his poor standing with black voters). So he needs to build up enough momentum that he can afford to take losses there and still remain in a reasonably good position for Super Tuesday.