Search Right-Wing Genius's Blog

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anything Can Happen

Let's start by acknowledging the inevitable: Mitt Romney will win the New Hampshire primary. I'll be stunned if he doesn't win by double digits. Having already placed first in the Iowa caucuses, Romney should have the nomination sewn up after a decisive win in New Hampshire, yet Pundits, pollsters and political junkies are buzzing about "the battle for second place" (as well as 3rd and 4th, if it's close). What I find especially interesting is that the air of mystery surrounding the first-in-the-nation primary this year is just as strong, if not more so, than it's been in previous years, despite Romney's incredibly strong poll position going into tonight and the paucity of doubt that he'll win by a sizeable margin. It's anyone's guess what order the runners-up will finish when all the N.H. votes are tallied. Ron Paul has consistently been polling in 2nd place since Newt Gingrich's collapse, but just like in Iowa, he seems to have plateaued. It's also worth noting that, while Santorum and Romney both outperformed their poll numbers in Iowa, Ron Paul's 21% of the vote was much closer to his position in the polls leading up to the caucuses. (A similar phenomenon occurred in 2008, where Romney and McCain both finished well ahead of their positions in the RCP average, while Paul underperformed.) For you empiricists out there, this portends and underwhelming finish for Paul in the Granite state, but he'll no doubt plod along.

The most exciting thing may be a last-minute surge by Jon Huntsman, who's arguably got the most to lose tonight (except for Mitt Romney). I pondered this possibility in a post last week, but by this weekend I was convinced that that ship had sailed. I may have spoken too soon; a spate of polls out of New Hampshire show real momentum for the even-tempered Mormon Sinophile. Rasmussen Reports has him at 15%, up from 12% in their previous New Hampshire survey. Public Policy Polling, which also had Huntsman polling at 12% the last week of December, released the results of a poll that pegged him at 16%. Perhaps most telling is the candidate's surge in the Suffolk University/7News tracking poll, in which Huntsman has doubled his share of the vote in the last week.

All of these polls have Huntsman in 3rd place, behind Romney and Paul, but a poll released over the weekend from American Research Group has him in 2nd place at 17%, followed by Ron Paul at 16%. Today the two are separated by three percentage points in the RCP average of N.H. polls, which for some reason does not include the ARG survey results; just five days ago, that gap was twelve points.

Huntsman won't win the New Hampshire primary, but there's a very real possibility that he could come in a strong 2nd. That would effectively quash Rick Santorum's momentum coming out of Iowa, and with a 10-day interim between today and the South Carolina primary, just about anything can happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment