Booker’s address on Saturday at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual convention was well received by the thousands of activists and delegates in the audience.
Asked minutes later by Fox News why that enthusiasm isn’t reflected in the polls, Booker quickly responded, “Thank God it’s not reflected. And I mean that seriously because we have never had a candidate who is ahead in the polls this far out who’s ever going to be president.”
The senator argued: “We know that the candidates that win from our party that energize the kind of movement elections we want to see are folks who were considered long shots at this point.
“Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama were all behind. Barack Obama was behind among African-American voters at this point.”
Booker, who’s currently polling in the low to mid-single digits, explained that “we do not want to win the summer news cycle. We want to win the first in the nation primary right here in New Hampshire.”
Pointing to the calendar – voting in the early primary and caucus states is still five months away – the senator stressed “polls have never been predictive this far out.”
Instead, he argued that what “kind of organizations you have on the ground” are more predictive. Booker has a robust campaign team in New Hampshire, which votes second after Iowa in the nominating calendar and holds the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Touting his performance in July’s second round of Democratic nomination debates – which Booker noted “focus groups and some of the networks here said that I won” – the senator said such moments give people a look at “my capacity to ignite a crowd.”
And Booker highlighted his backing from local politicians, noting “we have more endorsements in this state than any other candidate because politicos who know in this state want to be with someone who’s going to win and bring the right message. We have more endorsers in Iowa than the top four or five pollers combined.”