Wednesday, January 9, 2008
New Hampshire Primary Analysis
Okay, first the results:
Clinton 110,550 39%
Obama 102,883 37%
Edwards 47,803 17%
Richardson 12,987 5%
Kucinich 3,845 1%
Biden 616 0% 0
Gravel 397 0% 0
Dodd 195 0%
McCain 86,802 37%
Romney 73,806 32%
Huckabee 26,035 11%
Giuliani 20,054 9%
Paul 17,831 8%
Thompson 2,808 1%
Hunter 1,195 0%
Upfront, the "winners" are Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The biggest "losers" are John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson. Here's the candidate breakdown:
John McCain: If there was any state for McCain to do well in among the early primaries, it is New Hampshire. He won this state in 2000. Independents can vote in this state. This is important because McCain's support among more Independents and Moderates, more so than Conservatives. McCain has peeved many Conservatives with his positions over the years on issues such as Illegal Immigration, Campaign Finance Reform, the "Bush Tax Cuts", and his confusion with taking a consistent stance on Pro-Life and "Gay Rights" issues. (For an extensive breakdown of McCain's lack of Conservative positions and ideological morphing, click here). From this point on, McCain is going to need to maintain a top 3 showing in Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida in order to maintain any chance he has to win or finish well in any of the states on Super Tuesday.
Mitt Romney: Another second place showing for Romney should not be seen as a real "negative". Romney did win Wyoming, and he is the only candidate on the Republican side who has finished either first or second in the three early states. He needs to win Michigan in order to show he is not just a "second place" finisher. In track and field, there are those athletes who rarely win, but they always seem to come in second or third. Romney does not want to become that guy. If he does lose Michigan, he must win in South Carolina or his nomination hopes will be "living on a prayer" as he enters the Florida and Super Tuesday Primaries. As a side note, I am tired of the media attacking Romney because he has a lot of on hand cash and can use a plethora of his own money for the Presidential run. People should be glad he can finance his own campaign and is not subservient to the money with string attached that brings some candidates down because of "you owe me" donations. Romney does not have that dilemma.
Mike Huckabee: This was logistically a sore hit for Huckabee finishing third in New Hampshire. While finishing third is a respectable placement, Huckabee had 47,000 plus votes behind Romney (who came in second). He only had around 6,000 more votes than Giuliani (who came in fourth). That major drop off between second and third place kills much of the momentum Huckabee had after winning in Iowa. One of the major reasons Huckabee won in Iowa is because he was able to get a massive majority Social Conservatives and Christians to support his candidacy. But that same trend did not continue in New Hampshire where he was fighting for those votes with Romney. Romney was seen my many Social Conservative voters as the "only option" to McCain in the New Hampshire Primary. This perception may hurt Huckabee in Michigan, where Mitt Romney's father, George, served as Governor. If Huckabee is to finish second or third in Michigan, South Carolina, or Florida, it must be a much lower difference in order for him to do well on Super Tuesday. He must avoid the label of "one hit wonder" in order to have a solid shot at winning the nomination.
Rudy Giuliani: In October 2007, many political pundits and TV commentators believed that the New Hampshire Primary would be a "dog fight" between Giuliani and Romney. Well, they got the one name right, but now it is January 2008 and he finished in fourth place, 53,000 votes behind Romney. And now there is a poll that came out showing Giuliani in 4th place in Florida. Just three months ago Giuliani was seen has the front runner for the nomination and as almost unbeatable. Now he is in a fight to maintain legitimacy to be the nominee. This idea that he can win big on Super Tuesday and not do well in the lead up to Super Tuesday is turning out to be fools gold for the Giuliani campaign. He must finish in the top 4 in Michigan and the top 3 in South Carolina if he hopes to have a chance to win in Florida. Momentum is very important in these Primaries.
Ron Paul: He got 10,000 plus votes in Iowa, and in New Hampshire received 17,000 plus votes. Although he will not receive the nomination, he has shown he should not be ignored. Just imagine in a national race how many votes he could pull from both sides with his positions being very non-mainstream. This is not another Dennis Kucinich candidacy. This man has "spoiler" written all over his candidacy.
Fred Thompson: Finishing ahead of McCain in Iowa was a good sign for Thompson, but now finishing in 6th in New Hampshire and only receiving just under 3,000 votes is a major blow to his campaign. There is a difference between knowing you have a better chance in one state than another and just not even trying in a specific state. Thompson has been in South Carolina since the end of the Iowa Caucus. He didn’t not even travel to campaign at all in New Hampshire. All this campaigning in South Carolina must result in a win or his candidacy is through. Thompson should just start positioning himself to possibly be a Vice President candidate for the eventual Republican nominee. He would do well for a Romney or Giuliani as their VP.
Duncan Hunter: I am unsure why Hunter is still in the race. He does not have a chance at the nomination with a field that is very top heavy. He could help a candidate’s candidacy by dropping out and endorsing one of them. The one candidate he could help the most and push them ahead the farthest is if he would endorse Mitt Romney. Romney already has the endorsement of Board Security/Illegal Immigration guru Tom Tancredo.
Hillary Clinton: This was a big win for her. Many expected her to loose and some predicted she would loose by more than 10 percentage points. Now she and Obama both have one win each. This race for the Democratic nomination is turning out to look like a boxing match with numerous rounds that are up for grabs. Obama won round 1, Clinton won round two. With Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina ahead, she needs to at least finish in second in Michigan and Nevada entering the South Carolina primary. A loss for her in South Carolina would be hard to swallow 10 days before Super Tuesday. The race for the nomination is distinctly between Clinton and Obama. She cannot let him gain too much momentum or she could fall apart of Super Tuesday and be stumbling through the rest of the February primaries and caucuses. After the Iowa third place finish, he "electability" came into question, but this is a long race and she is in it for the long run.
Barack Obama: Coming in second does not hurt him in the long run. He got the win already under his belt. He has shown he can win a state. Entering Michigan and Nevada, Obama needs to keep pace with Clinton and try to win one of those two states. Michigan is winnable for him if he garner enough votes from the urban areas and then split the north western section oft he state in order for him to have a shot at winning. Nevada comes down to who the state union's support. If he were to loose both those states, South Carolina becomes extra important for him to win. Winning South Carolina will carry him into Super Tuesday with momentum and electability. A strong showing in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday will make him the favorite to win the Democratic Nomination.
John Edwards: He is pretty much done. He is probably staying in hoping to gain another second place finish ahead of either Obama or Clinton in Michigan or Nevada and then place all his hopes on winning in South Carolina. He won in South Carolina in 2004, so if he does not win in South Carolina, look for him to either drop out or fade away as supports will go else where.
Bill Richardson: He is staying in the race to gain enough name recognition and exposure so he can potentially be the Vice Presidential Candidate for whoever becomes the nominee. The fact that he had almost 13,000 votes shows he has enough of a following that makes him being a VP candidate very appealing, especially since he would make New Mexico an essential "gimmee" in the National Election.
Dennis Kucinich: Congrats to Congressman Kucinich, who received more votes than Fred Thompson. His candidacy is going now where, he is a protest candidate at this point for voters.
Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have officially dropped out of the race, although both combined received almost 1,000 votes. Mike Gravel, like Kucinich, was a protest vote candidate.