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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Hampshire Results Analyzed

Barack Obama's leads in the New Hampshire polls brought him down in the New Hampshire Primary. The Independents supported John McCain's tight fight with Mitt Romney over Obama's blowout rout over Hillary Clinton.

And without Independents, Barack Obama was back where he was before Iowa... trailing Hillary Clinton.

For the Democrats, it's a new race, and it's the second time we've said that in four days. As the race heads west to Nevada and south to South Carolina, we'll be privileged to bear witness to the closest primary season for the Democrats since 1992, when Hillary's husband Bill tied up the race in New Hampshire, kicking off his comeback run to the Democratic nomination and presidency.

Heading into the next couple primaries, pay attention to the Democrats' national polls, because this race will be close heading into February 5th (Super Tuesday), when 20 states vote and nearly half the delegation is appropriated. Both Obama and Clinton's numbers should rise while more and more voters will jump ship from the remaining no-shot candidates in order to have a more meaningful vote. Therefore, I expect Clinton to get back into the low 40's, with Obama nipping at her heals in the mid 30's.

If either of the candidates can take both Nevada and South Carolina, they're the favorites for Super Tuesday. If they split those two states (most likely scenario: Clinton in Nevada, Obama in South Carolina), then it's a dead heat heading into February 5th.

As for the Republicans...

High Noon will be South Carolina. McCain's win has put him and Huckabee on a collision course for the first southern primary. The winner of the McCain-Huckabee showdown in South Carolina will be the favorite on Super Tuesday. McCain will be alive regardless, but he'll sew up the Republican nomination with a South Carolina win. Huckabee needs a South Carolina win to stay in contention, but if he does get that win, and he's up in all the polls, he becomes the favorite to win the nomination.

Rudy Giuliani's New Hampshire Primary performance, meanwhile, placed one point ahead of Ron Paul for fourth. His numbers continue to decline in early primary states and Super Tuesday states. By the time Florida's primary comes around on the 29th, he'll be clinging to his lead there and his relevancy in the race for the nomination.

Luckily for Giuliani, no one candidate is seizing too much momentum thus far, keeping him alive as long as there is chaos from the other three candidates. Not counting the nearly insignificant Wyoming vote this past weekend, here are the placings of the three candidates in the early primaries:

Huckabee: 1, 3
Romney: 2, 2
McCain: 4, 1

McCain has the momentum, Romney has the consistency and delegates (though those are disappointing "silver medals" considering how much he spent in those states), and Huckabee has the edge in South Carolina. None have the inside track or a majority of delegates.

Thus, Giuliani stays alive and with three states down, it's still a four-candidate race. No primary of either party has ever been that close after three states have voted.

Enjoy the ride.

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