WINNING BOTH? The pundits on ‘Morning Joe’ and every other chat show temporarily based in New Hampshire today are talking about Mitt Romney’s victory in Iowa and the historical significance that comes with sweeping both NH and Iowa. But did Romney actually win Iowa? Seems that there are some very credible questions about the vote totals from the Hawkeye state that, if what people are reporting is true, might actually put Rick Santorum on top.
WHAT’S AT STAKE? Like Iowa, this is a huge amount of money and media attention being directed at a very insignificant contest, if you look at this from a delegate count standpoint. New Hampshire has been penalized for moving their contest forward and now has only 12 delegates to send to the GOP national convention. That’s about 1% of the number of delegates needed to capture the GOP nomination. But no candidate will win all of them, because New Hampshire distributes delegates to any candidate who polls more than 10% of the vote. Potentially five contenders could walk away from today’s primary with a delegate in hand, and the winner is unlikely to secure more than 4 or 5 at most.
DEMOCRATS VOTE TOO Despite what you hear on television, President Obama is not “unopposed” for re-nomination. In fact, more than a dozen Democrats have filed for a spot on the NH ballot. Our friend Darcy Richardson is clearly the most serious of the other candidates, but New Hampshire is unlikely to provide much of a boost for his campaign. With so many “colorful” candidates cluttering the ballot, the big thing to watch tonight will be how many Democrats in total vote for someone OTHER than President Obama? In 1996, Bill Clinton got about 84% of the vote in New Hampshire against token opposition.
THE HUNTSMAN SURGE: The most aggressive “surge” in support for Jon Huntsman is being reported in the American Research Group’s newest poll that has the former Utah governor at 18%, in second place just ahead of Ron Paul. If Huntsman tops 20% tonight and finishes in second place, many in the media will probably call that a win. Where he goes next is anybody’s guess… the latest polls show Huntsman languishing at 3-4% in South Carolina and Florida.