New Hampshire primary wrap up, on to South Carolina
Before I get in to my wrap up on the New Hampshire primary I would like to take a little time to gloat over my primary predictions. Here are the results I predicted in New Hampshire:
1. Mitt Romney 35%
2. Ron Paul 22%
3. Jon Huntsman 15%
4. Newt Gingrich 12%
5. Rick Santorum 10%
6. Rick Perry 2%
And these were the actual results:
1. Mitt Romney 38%
2. Ron Paul 23%
3. Jon Huntsman 17%
4. Newt Gingrich 10%
5. Rick Santorum 9%
6. Rick Perry 1%
I predicted the exact order of the primary and with the exception of Mitt Romney–by a 3% margin–I was within 2% of predicting the final vote tally of all the candidates. While all of the professional pundits expressed surprise at Ron Paul’s finish–even though this was about where he was polling–I knew his poll numbers were legitimate, and unlike Sarah Palin, who stated that New Hampshire was a center-left state, Ron Paul’s showing confirms what I have been saying all along–New Hampshire voters are independent minded, libertarian leaning people who do not like the Nanny State politicians running our lives. Perhaps Sarah Palin should take a look at how New Hampshire fared in 2010 when there was no anti-Bush wave to ride on; maybe then she–and the other pundit–wouldn’t have been so surprised at Ron Paul.
Okay, that’s enough gloating, onto the wrap up:
Mitt Romney won the primary by 15 points and while this is a large margin of victory, and while Mitt Romney is touting this as a huge victory, the fact still remains that he has been campaigning for about six years, has tried to pretend that New Hampshire is one of his adopted home states, he had been polling in the mid 40s, and he should have done better. A 15 point victory is impressive but he still has to be disappointed.
Late breaking voters and undeclared voters broke for Romney in a larger quantity than I expected because I had thought that those who were undecided were already decided against Romney and were only undecided about which candidate to vote for instead of Mitt Romney. Most of Mitt Romney’s votes came because people think he is the most electable candidate and would be the best candidate in regard to fixing the economy.
With 23% of the vote in New Hampshire Ron Paul is the only candidate besides Mitt Romney who has earned at least 20% of the vote in both Iowa and New Hampshire and this could position him as the non-Romney candidate moving forward. He has two very respectable showing and this has to prove to the experts that Ron Paul is for real; he has money and a loyal following and it will be interesting to see how well he does as the primaries move toward the South.
Jon Huntsman used Rick Santorum’s Iowa strategy to make a stand in New Hampshire and it paid off modestly. He was in single digits for most of the campaign but retail politicking in New Hampshire saw him surge in the last week. He now has some momentum heading into Iowa; will he be able to capitalize on it more than RIck Santorum did coming out of Iowa?
Newt Gingrich has now garnered 10% of the vote in both Iowa and New Hampshire and it appears as if his campaign is going nowhere fast, this could change as we head into South Carolina where it is considered more friendly to Gingrich.
Rick Santorum was unable to carry his momentum into New Hampshire and while he did receive about a 5-6% bump in final results the fact is that his social views are a turn off to libertarian minded voters and this was his undoing in the Granite State. He knew New Hampshire was going to be a struggle and while he stayed in the state over the last week he plans on making his stand in South Carolina.
It appeared as if Rick Perry was going to drop out of the race after Iowa but he decided to stay in the race and skip New Hampshire–with the exception of the debates–and make his final stand in South Carolina so it wasn’t surprising that he ended up faring go poorly here.
On to South Carolina
Mitt Romney’s showing in New Hampshire–while it should have been better–should give him some momentum heading into South Carolina. But this should be a much closer race than we saw in New Hampshire: South Carolina should be less friendly ground to Mitt Romney while providing more friendly turf to Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. At this point I am unsure how South Carolina will greet Ron Paul and his libertarian views.
Sure Mitt Romney will probably get a bounce based on New Hampshire and his perceived “most electable” tag, but he will be facing an onslaught from Newt Gingrich, who holds a personal grudge against him, and while Gingrich’s poor showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire should have him considering dropping out of the race, the fact is that he is well funded and will stay in the race long after it is clear he cannot win because at this point his only goal is bringing down Mitt Romney at all costs. A good showing in South Carolina would make him viable again, but he is quickly moving from simply being a sore loser and a bitter man into being a full fledged Democrat operative with his recent anti-capitalist, class warfare rhetoric and this can’t play well in South Carolina considering the Obama/Boeing issue.
Rick Perry has also recently joined Newt Gingrich in attacking Mitt Romney on the basis of class warfare and I fear the Republican party is about to tear itself apart and implode by playing right into Barack Obama’s hand on this issue; Barack Obama has been trying to pit different classes of Americans against each other and he must be laughing at the idea that two Republican candidates have joined him in this battle.
If Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are successful in this game it will not be to their benefit, for in bringing down Mitt Romney by pitting different classes of Americans against each other all three of them will crash and burn in the Republican primary. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Mitt Romney supporter and I do not wish to see him gain the nomination of the party, but this is not the proper way to stop his momentum considering we already have a president engaged in this type of class warfare in an attempt to win reelection; the candidates should be differentiating themselves from Barack Obama not embracing his divisive rhetoric. This is not what Republican primary voters want to hear and it will backfire on them.
If Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are successful in bringing down Mitt Romney in this fashion it will open the door for either Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, or even Jon Huntsman to pick up the pieces but it will be at a price that ensures the Republican nominee cannot get elected.