Before Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at a get-out-the-vote event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Saturday, a long line of people queued patiently outside for a chance to see her in action. Will Moore of Hanover was one of them — but he is not a Warren voter.
"I've always liked Warren and her policies and I'm running out of chances to see her," Moore said. "I remember, I think sometime last year, Warren was really surging in the polls, and I thought she might run away with the nomination."
But Moore said he is committed to another candidate: Bernie Sanders.
"I've been a Bernie supporter since the first go-round in 2016," Moore said. "His message really struck home with me. I think 'Medicare for All' is long overdue."
Given how close Sanders and Warren are on some key issues — healthcare, climate change, the high cost of higher education, getting big money out of politics — it is reasonable to think that left-leaning New Hampshire voters might be agonizing over which one to support. But there is little evidence of agonizing on the ground.
After a Sanders town hall in Hanover Sunday, Golnar Nikpour of Lebanon said Sanders has embraced the same message for decades, calling that a significant mark in his favor.
"I trust him. I think he has been extremely crystal clear about his views for 40 years and they’re the views that most match mine," Nikpour said. "I admire his principled stance against war, the Iraq War. I admire that he's worked really hard to end our military involvement in Yemen. I admire how hard he’s worked for healthcare, and for LGBT rights when it was unpopular."
For Sanders loyalists, there is also a corollary argument: When he and Warren do happen to be on the same ideological page, it is because he led the way and she followed.
"I think Elizabeth would make a wonderful vice president," Chris Collier, of Enfield, said. "She's got a wonderful way of connecting with people. ... She'd take his policies and promote them. And she would because she's good at taking Bernie's ideas and making them sound good."
Naturally, the Warren faithful have other views about what she offers that he does not.
“I want to go into my 21st year with a woman in the White House," GiGi Gunderson, a student at Dartmouth College, said after a Warren rally in Lebanon. "She is passionate, she is fiery, and she’s someone I would be so excited to work so hard for."
Another pro-Warren argument: If Sanders’ worldview never changes, hers is more nuanced.
"Senator Warren focuses on such a broad array of issues, and sees how they’re interconnected -- but individually just as important," said Jennifer West, another Dartmouth student. "Whereas I think Senator Sanders’ strong focus on economic issues sort of clouds out other issues such as race and gender.”
So, if either Sanders or Warren wins the nomination, would the others’ supporters transfer their allegiance? Some seem willing to do so.
At a get-out-the-vote event in Concord, Matthew Collura, who traveled from Brooklyn to New Hampshire to volunteer for Sanders’ campaign, toId WGBH News he would support Warren if she won the nomination. But he added a significant caveat.
“I can bring a sense of energy to whatever candidate speaks to the issues, and she speaks to a good bit of them,” Collura said. “What I would be worried about is the mass movement that is already formed, and attrition. No matter who you’re [transferring] supporters over to, you’re going to get attrition.”