As expected, and as polls indicated would happen, Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary. And he did more than win; he pretty much cruised to victory. Second place went to Ron Paul—which, actually, shouldn’t be particularly surprising: New Hampshire is a libertarian-leaning state. Jon Huntsman took third, which is mildly surprising, after the showing Rick Santorum made in Iowa.
And yes, the big loser was Santorum, who was pretty much rejected as a candidate by New Hampshire primary voters, negating his Iowa showing. Apparently, his time as Republican flavor of the week may be passing. As for Newt and Rick Perry … well, as Ron Paul said, “drop out.” Gingrich and Santorum polled 9% while Perry got an anemic 1% in the Granite State.
All of the bottom three candidates think the upcoming South Carolina primary will resuscitate their campaigns. But will their messages get a better reception there than in New Hampshire? Frankly, I think Perry is fooling himself. He hasn’t done well in either Iowa or New Hampshire, and he’s not polling well in South Carolina.
PPP has it broken down as Romney 30, Santorum 19, Gingrich 23, Paul 9, Perry 5, Huntsman 4. Rasmussen has it as Romney 27, Santorum 24, Gingrich 18, Paul 11, Perry 5, Huntsman 2.
If those numbers hold, and there’s no reason to think they won’t, it may be Paul who is looking for the exit poll after SC; I doubt he’ll do well in Florida. Huntsman is done, and will probably the next to leave. And if Perry shows as dismally as the polls suggest, he’ll be out before Florida’s January 31 primary.
Santorum is looking for a boost from what MSNBC calls the “socially conservative and evangelical Christian voters in the Palmetto State.” If he’s able to pull Rasmussen’s numbers, then he’ll stay for a while. If he ends up second with a PPP spread, he’s pretty much done whether he’ll admit it or not. He’s not going to pull good numbers in Florida.
So, like it or not, Romney appears headed toward the nomination at this point. Watch for Gingrich to remain to the bitter end and be much more destructive to the GOP’s chances than the Obama campaign ever will be. Obama, after all, has to run on his poor record, which means the campaign has to be careful about what issues they raise, and what they don’t want raised. Gingrich is the Attila the Hun of politics—with no such limits and no qualms about pulling out all the stops even if his effort is doomed. As I said once before, it was only a matter of time until “bad Newt” showed up. He’s here.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Barack Obama only managed 82% of the total Democratic vote; 10% went to write-ins, and 1% of the total went to Vermin Supreme—the guy who claims to be a satirist and wears a rubber boot as headgear.