Well, no surprises on the Republican side. McCain won, Romney second, Huckabee third; and those, I think, are the only remaining viable candidates for the GOP nomination. Giuliani needs a miracle, an absolute miracle, in Florida and New York on Tsunami Tuesday to get back in the race. Ron Paul is done; his big push, the place he has been expected to do best of all, was New Hampshire, and he finished fifth out of seven.
On the other side: Clinton wins. BIG surprise, after the last couple days.
What annoys me about this outcome is the reason the pundits are giving for Hillary's come-from-behind win: the sympathy vote. If New Hampshire voted for Clinton because of a her crying about not being handed the Democrat nomination on a silver platter, then my disgust with elective politics in general knows no bounds. If New Hampshire women turned out for Clinton because they didn't like the fact that her opponents attacked her positions and character, then gender equality is a lie: Clinton won because people still believe women are the weaker sex, to be coddled and protected, if the talking heads are guessing right.
Nauseating. Do we really want to elect someone on the basis of his or her ability to present himself/herself as a victim? I really hope the pundits are full of it on this one.
That said, the vote is close- 39% to 37% over Obama with 83% of the vote in. This is less than a victory for Obama, but it's not defeat- not by a long shot.
Ignore all the post-Iowa polls that showed Obama up by ten points over Clinton. Instead let's look at the polls in New Hampshire for the week leading up to and including January 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, according to usaelectionpolls.com...
Jan. 2 - Suffolk University - Clinton 39%, Obama 23%
Jan. 2 - Zogby - Clinton 32%, Obama 26%
Jan. 2 - American Research Group - Clinton 35%, Obama 31%
Jan. 1 - Suffolk - Clinton 37%, Obama 20%
Dec. 30 - RKM Research - Clinton 32%, Obama 28%
Dec. 29 - Suffolk - Clinton 36%, Obama 22%
Dec. 29 - U. New Hampshire - Clinton 34%, Obama 30%
Dec. 28 - ARG - Clinton 31%, Obama 27%
Averaging the lot, we get 34.5% for Clinton, 25.9% for Obama- a nine-point spread for Clinton.
It appears, as I type this, that the spread will only be two points in the final. Clinton only gained four points on the pre-Iowa polls in the final vote; Obama gained ten points.
New Hampshire shows that Clinton and Obama are equals in the eyes of the electorate. Obama has shown strength by winning Iowa and coming close in New Hampshire.
Now the campaign moves on to South Carolina and Nevada- Michigan not counting for much on either side, and with Obama and Edwards not on the ballot there. On the Republican side, I predict Obama and Huckabee win in South Carolina; Clinton and McCain win in Nevada; and Romney finishes second in both and tries to point to an empty win in Michigan as a sign of his viability.
I'm solid with my pick of Clinton in Nevada, but I favor Obama in South Carolina only marginally. He needs one of the two, and Nevada as an in-party caucus will be the longer shot. If Clinton wins both, Obama's essentially out; Clinton will have both momentum and home-field advantage in Florida and in New York and California come Tsunami Tuesday. Even if Clinton loses both, her win in New Hampshire and her prohibitive advantage in those huge states keeps her in the race pretty much for the duration.
On the Republican side there's no favorite. You have three candidates who each represent one faction in the modern Republican party: the national defense activists (McCain), the economic conservatives (Romney), and the social conservatives (Huckabee). Giuliani has little or nothing beyond name recognition and electability to recommend him to Republicans; and Ron Paul, let's be honest, has demonstrated that small-government Republicans are all but extinct. Romney could well win by just continuing to finish a strong second again and again and again, thereby building up enough delegates to finish first in the delegate count without a majority... which leads, again, to a contested Republican convention.
And finally, let's look at the delegate count to date, according to CNN:
DEMOCRATS: Clinton 185 (24 state delegates plus 159 superdelegates), Obama 78 (25 state delegates plus 53 superdelegates), Edwards 52 (18 state delegates plus 34 superdelegates), Richardson 19 (all superdelegates), Kucinich 1 (superdelegate), 2025 needed for majority.
REPUBLICANS: Romney 30 (24 state delegates, 6 RNC delegates), Huckabee 21 (18 state delegates, 3 RNC delegates), McCain 10 (all state delegates), Thompson 6 (all state delegates), Paul 2 (state delegates), Giuliani 1 (RNC delegate), Hunter 1 (state delegate), 1,191 needed for majority.