Monday Open Thread: New Hampshire Predictions And Commentaryby 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.
- Barack Obama
- Hillary Clinton
- John Edwards
- Bill Richardson
- 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.
- John McCain
- Mitt Romney
- Ron Paul
- Mike Huckabee
- Rudy Giuliani
- 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