Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Look! Real Voting!

After the rather convoluted Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire is pretty easy. Voting like we're used to, with independents allowed to vote in either primary. The questions on Tuesday are many: How much of a bounce do Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee get. Can Hilary Clinton and Mitt Romney recover? Is the John McCain of 2000 back? Do Guiliani and Thompson have pulses?

Before the Iowa caucuses, Obama was rising, Clinton was holding serve and Edwards holding on. Since Obama's very impressive win, he has been rising and now leads the state from anywhere from 5 – 12 points. Now, this becomes question of how big his victory is. After holding a solid lead for a year, Clinton now find herself the underdog. A victory is probably out of reach, but a close second could set her up with a slight bounce heading to South Carolina and beyond to February 5th. Obama, conversely, now find himself hampered by expectations. A convincing win continues his wave, sets him up well in South Carolina and puts unbelievable pressure on both his rivals. John Edwards has settled into a solid third. While he lacks many chances for a breakthrough, his base of support is solid enough to see him though February.

1 – Obama – 36%
2 – Clinton – 28%
3 – Edwards – 19%

John McCain won this primary in 2000 in rather spectacular fashion. Romney has been in the lead for several months, but just prior to his Iowa implosion, the former Massachusetts governor was slipping in New Hampshire as well. Now, weirdly enough, Mitt has regrouped somewhat over the past 48 hours and might even slip past McCain. Romney still isn't beloved by anybody, but McCain rode independents to victory in 2000. Those votes seem to be flocking to Barack Obama this cycle. McCain still has a testy relationship with Republican regulars, so a lack of independents could seriously hamper him. I still think that McCain will take this one, but a close second for Romney keeps him alive through the beginning of February. Mike Huckabee has very little presence here, but a double-digit showing counts as a bit of a victory. He is the overwhelming favorite in South Carolina, so a victory there sets him up as the GOP frontrunner. The anti-Huckabee vote then settles between McCain and Romney, with Thompson and Giuliani on the verge of complete collapse.

1 – McCain – 35%
2 – Romney - 32%
3 – Huckabee – 13%
4 – Paul – 9%
5 – Giuliani - 7%

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