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January 7, 2008

Monday Open Thread: New Hampshire Predictions And Commentary

by Doug Mataconis

When I tried this before the Iowa Caucuses, my predictions beyond the actual winner proved to be slightly less than accurate, but nonetheless, here are some predictions of how things will turn out tomorrow in the Granite State.

Democrats

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. John Edwards
  4. Bill Richardson
  5. Everybody else (assuming Kucinich and/or Gravel are even on the ballot)

Given the polls that came out over the weekend, Obama’s victory over Clinton seems to be assured barring a major change in the next 24 hours.

What is more interesting is what happens after tomorrow night.

Contrary to what some in the press are saying, a loss in New Hampshire will not mean the end of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She still has a lot of money to play with, the support of most of the major players in the Democratic Party, not to mention commanding leads in delegate rich states like California and Florida. Two losses in a row will be wounding to Clinton, but they won’t be fatal as long as Clinton still has the money and support that she had before the voting started.

After New Hampshire, the Democratic race moves to Michigan, and then South Carolina. The polls have Clinton ahead in both states, but those polls were conducted nearly a month ago and it’s quite likely that things have changed significantly since then. South Carolina, for example, has been mentioned as a state that Obama has a chance at winning.

This much is certain. The Democratic race is now a two-person race between Clinton and Obama (sorry John Edwards). The question is whether Obama’s surge will continue to chip away at Hillary’s previously insurmountable lead in the Super Tuesday states.

Republicans

  1. John McCain
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. Ron Paul
  4. Mike Huckabee
  5. Rudy Giuliani
  6. Fred Thompson

Again, the top spot in the Republican race is rather easy to predict because John McCain has surged ahead of Mitt Romney to an extent that seems insurmountable.

When it comes to the rest of the field, though, I may be letting my hopes get the better of me here, because the polls consistently show Huckabee inching into third place ahead of Ron Paul. However, if there is any state in the nation where Ron Paul can be said to have a natural constituency, it’s New Hampshire. So, I’m going to predict that he’ll come up with enough committed supporters to put him in a surprising, if distant, third place behind McCain and Romney.

This much is true, though, if Paul doesn’t end up doing something surprising tomorrow, the media is going to stop paying attention to his campaign and start spending their time on candidates who actually have a chance at winning the nomination.

Coming out of New Hampshire, the Republicans will be in the uncomfortable position of having as many as four contenders for the nomination.

  • Mike Huckabee won Iowa and is polling well in South Carolina, and Florida.
  • Mitt Romney, though he will be severely weakened by losing yet another primary he had wrapped up a month ago, won the Wyoming Caucuses, has a ton of money, and is polling well in Michigan and Nevada.
  • Rudy Giuliani continues to lead in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He’s also got a ton of money and party support, but he needs to win a primary soon, otherwise he’s likely to see his supporters drifting to……
  • John McCain, who is poised to repeat his feat of eight years ago and win the New Hampshire primary. The question is where he goes from there. Back in 2000, the Straight Talk Express was derailed when Bush beat McCain in South Carolina, and McCain could never find the support in the South and West that he would have needed to beat Bush. If it’s going to come this time, McCain is going to have to make a run for Giuliani’s supporters.

Sorry Ron Paul supporters, but even if he does come in third in New Hampshire, Ron Paul still won’t be a frontrunner for the nomination. To be a frontrunner, you have to at least win something somewhere and, outside of the Granite State, there isn’t any state in the country where Paul seems likely to come in third, never mind win.

As always, feel free to criticize

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21 Comments

  1. It doesn’t matter if Ron Paul wins to me, I’m still voting for him in the general election if I have to write him in.

    You people don’t seem to get the point. What the hell is so important about voting for the winning candidate? Sure, this is America and we like to win, but to vote for someone just because you THINK they will win and not because you agree with his/her platform is foolish.

    Comment by Justin — January 7, 2008 @ 6:31 am
  2. Justin, sweetie,

    Doug has never claimed, nor does he believe that you have to vote for someone who can win. I think you are projecting your insecurities onto his post.

    Doug feels that unless something dramatic happens in the next few weeks Ron Paul has no chance of getting the Republican nomination. This is a descriptive statement rather than a normative one. It isn’t what Doug wants to see happen. Rather, it is what Doug thinks will happen.

    For example, if you see someone lose control of their car and shoot off the road, you might say “if he doesn’t do something dramatic, he is going to hit a tree.” This does not mean you are rooting for the man to hit the tree.

    Comment by tarran — January 7, 2008 @ 6:35 am
  3. Justin,

    You can vote for whoever you want to. And speaking as someone who voted for Libertarian Party candidates in 1988, 1992, and 1996 not to mention voting for anyone except a Democrat when I was living in New Jersey, I know well what it means to vote for someone who has no chance of winning.

    My post was meant to analyze the state of the race as of today, and after what I think will happen in New Hampshire.

    Do I like it ? Well, as a political junkie I must say that the prospect of a four-way race for the GOP Nomination that stretches into March or even, god help us, a brokered convention, does excite me — but I’m a political wonk.

    Would I vote for any of these guys ? No.

    Reason Magazine summed it up well last year — it would be nice to live in a world where Ron Paul could be elected President.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 7, 2008 @ 6:39 am
  4. “it would be nice to live in a world where Ron Paul could be elected President.

    It’s up to us to make it that kind of world. Blaming others for our own shortcomings is irresponsible.

    If we don’t put our beliefs and principles into action then we’re no better than the whores that kowtow to the powers that be.

    Comment by Jamie — January 7, 2008 @ 7:16 am
  5. Doug Mataconis,
    Justin just response to your indirect “normative” description. You’ve actually fallen into the traps same as the rest mass media. Actually, you’re spinning the feeling of “Ron Paul will not win”, as a result, conventional readers brainwashed by the Establishment will decide to choose the lesser evil candidate, which consequently draws more votes away from Ron Paul. Just some psychology stuff~
    Hence, in response to your spinning, Justin smartly answered it.
    Come on, sometimes you need to read between lines, lol

    Indeed it is even a waste of time to read these polling prediction, I know you want to be praised by people of how smart you are, but my friend, falling into a spinning trap is quite, i would say, stupid…..

    Comment by Samurai33 — January 7, 2008 @ 8:00 am
  6. Democrats:
    1)Obama
    2)Clinton
    3)Edwards
    4)Richardson
    The bleeding of the Clinton campaign continues.

    Republicans
    1)McCain
    2)Romney
    3)Huckabee
    4)Paul
    5)Giuliani
    6)Thompson

    I think Romney will be closer to McCain than most polls are showing.
    Like Iowa 3-5 will be close. I’d say no more than 4% between 3rd and 5th.

    Comment by Bob — January 7, 2008 @ 8:20 am
  7. Bob,

    You may turn out to be right on the 3-4 order on the GOP side. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Paul falling behind Huckabee and Giuliani in 5th place.

    I’m still going with my optimism on that one, though.

    If the Rasmussen poll turns out to be closer to reality, though, then we’re looking at the beginning of the end.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 7, 2008 @ 8:22 am
  8. RCP had Paul behind Giuliani. So we both might be overly optimistic.
    The only place I saw Paul leading is Alaska. I’m hoping he can make a fight of it in Arizona(2nd or 3rd) and maybe Utah(2nd or 3rd). But I admit that’s my heart talking instead of my brain. I wonder how long it’ll be before he runs out of money.

    Comment by Bob — January 7, 2008 @ 8:48 am
  9. Democrats:

    No disagreement.

    Republicans:

    1) McCain
    2) Romney
    3) Huckabee
    4) Giuliani
    5) Paul
    6) Thompson

    McCain has the Republican-leaning independents locked up. Michigan will be do or die for Mitt Romney. Huckabee has surged enough to pick up a strong 3rd. Paul will fall to 5th because he is counting on at this point left-leaning independent voters to show up for him. My evidence is his debate performance Saturday night where he sounded like at times, a leftist. Unfortunately for him, they’re going to show up for Obama.

    Comment by Kevin — January 7, 2008 @ 9:04 am
  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/us/politics/02voters.html

    Here is a great preview from the NY Times explaining how the independents have increased since 2000 largely because NH is a state that allows only independents to cross-party vote. The article is not favorable to McCain or Romney and one can hardly believe that Huckabee could fair very well. It does read well for Obama. Dr No. is curiously omitted from this analysis; article was written before raising 20 mil.

    Comment by Amy — January 7, 2008 @ 10:44 am
  11. Dems: Easy enough. Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Richardson. The big question is the amount Obama wins by and how far behind Clinton Edwards finishes. If Clinton loses by double digits, she’s going to have a hard time spinning things. She’ll win Michigan, but that one is pretty much unconstested because they broke the rules. I’ve been hearing that she may have to completely write South Carolina off, which means she’s going to need a big win in Nevada.

    Republicans: McCain, Romney, Paul (by a hair), Huckabee, Giuliani, Thompson. Paul will get a higher percentage of his supporters to the polls than Huckabee, which will get him the third place spot. As with the Dems, the big question is by how much McCain will win. Anything more than 3 or 4 points, and Romney is officially toast.

    Comment by Mark — January 7, 2008 @ 10:49 am
  12. My predictions

    McCain – 32
    Romney – 24
    Huckabee – 18
    Paul – 12
    Giuliani – 8
    Thompson – 4

    Polling indicates that Giuliani is falling like a cement shoed rat in popularity in both the national and state polls. With a record of loxing so badly in Iowa and New Hampshite, I can’t see him recover. Thompson was fauned over by the media and republican establishment, but cured their insomnia. Huckabee is still exciting to many frustrated conservatives, but will be understood as a flash in the pan when the bigger states start voting. Romney is a weasel, but he’s a very suave weasel and might slime his way to the front, but I think conservatives are coming to settle on McCain, who everybody agrees they don’t like, but dislike less than the alternatives.

    Comment by Lost_In_Translation — January 7, 2008 @ 11:03 am
  13. Kevin,

    Giuliani’s trend is spiraling downward and I can’t see Paul failing to beat him

    Comment by Lost_In_Translation — January 7, 2008 @ 11:05 am
  14. The quote:

    “outside of the Granite State, there isn’t any state in the country where Paul seems likely to come in third, never mind win.”

    makes an assumption it should not make. Based on locality of donation support, meetup group size and number of volunteers, Ron Paul’s strongest states are IL, IN, OH, MI, NY, TX and CA. The MI and February 5th primaries will be the telling tale, not tomorrow’s election.

    As Duncan Hunter will probably drop out after tomorrow, look for Paul support to pick up in border states as well.

    The analysis stated in the essay is based on past elections. Historical data doesn’t apply in a race without an incumbent running, something most pundits have forgotten as it’s been decades since we had such a race.

    Comment by Dave — January 7, 2008 @ 11:13 am
  15. Dave,

    Based on the most recent polling data, Paul is in 4th or 5th place in each of the states mentioned.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 7, 2008 @ 11:20 am
  16. Doug,

    Keep in mind in states where Paul is not campaigning, his numbers are essentially the same as the national numbers, but where he goes, his numbers edge up. While I don’t think it could be enough, he’s already shown that he can get delegates, just not the majority. Nobody said this was going to be easy and the talking heads may be right that the message just won’t convince enough people, but while they’re saying to the public everything’s fine within the republican party, inside the republican leaders should be worried that the republican base is this fractured.

    Comment by Lost_In_Translation — January 7, 2008 @ 11:46 am
  17. I think he may have a strong possibility to win California with his tough border stance. A lot of Californians are fed up. Don’t count this man out yet. And the most important thing is his pointing out of the absolute shafting we are getting from the crooks at the Fedreal Reserve and IRS. When these unconstitutional crooks see the light of day Ron Paul is exposing, the ripple will turn into a tidal wave. We can only hope, or welcome to the Guiliani police state. God help us.

    Comment by TW — January 7, 2008 @ 12:27 pm
  18. LIT,

    But there are enough RINOs in New Hampshire to swing 4th for Rudy. Plus, I see no evidence to show that Paul has enough Republican voters to offset the losses he’ll suffer because of left-leaning independents going to Obama.

    Comment by Kevin — January 7, 2008 @ 1:49 pm
  19. Kevin,

    But the RINO’s see Romney as an acceptable replacement for Rudy, as they just want to make sure the neocons have a good chance of winning, hence the life being sucked out Rudy’s polls. Meanwhile, those mad at all the candidates may give Ron a boost, especially if Obama is already shown winning by a large percentage.

    Comment by Lost_In_Translation — January 7, 2008 @ 2:08 pm
  20. Latest RCP average now has Giuliani 3rd in the national polls. Look for a continued and rapid collapse of his campaign on the statewide level.

    Comment by Greg — January 7, 2008 @ 4:36 pm
  21. Doug,

    Once again, I agree with your assessment of the current situation, but your prediction of the future still rests on the fundamental assumption that Paul has peaked or soon will.

    Maybe you’re right this time, but you don’t really have any credibility on the matter.

    We’re right where we need to be. Go back a few months and review my posts. We’re continuing our steady ascent. In most races, it would be too little, too late, but this isn’t most races. There’s so much turmoil at the top, we still have time to grow.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — January 7, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

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