Tuesday, January 8, 2008

NH: Pre-Results Analysis

With the polls about to close in a few hours, I thought I'd offer some pre-results analysis of the race. During the weekend in NH, I thought McCain would edge out Romney in NH. Even though I saw far more signage for Romney on the ground, I thought his loss in IA, coupled with more people knowing about his constant flip-flops, would get the better of him. But with (a) the latest polls showing that McCain has plateaued, i.e., he started the weekend with around a 6 point lead but now has dropped to a 3.6 lead over Romney, with the latest poll showing Romney beating McCain by 3 points (though this is the only poll that has Romney up); (b) Romney's performance in the Fox News roundtable on Sunday night; and (c) the fact that independent voter turnout in the Dem primary caused them to run out of ballots earlier today, while McCain needs the independent vote, suggests to me that McCain won't have the big night that most people projected, and may in fact fall short to Romney. Bob Novak also sees Romney "rallying" in NH these last couple of days.

However, even if McCain wins tonight, he still doesn't have the money to compete effectively elsewhere, using up most of his resources in New Hampshire after several months of poor fundraising. I think McCain has to win big in NH, over 5%, in order to compete effectively against Romney in Michigan. And if he loses tonight, his campaign is, for all intents and purposes, over.

As for where Rudy stands, I'm sure his campaign would prefer a Romney victory tonight. Not because they prefer him over McCain (far from it), but because they believe (correctly) that most of McCain's supporters would choose Rudy over the other candidates if McCain drops out, and the sooner, the better.

I'm thinking the Republican race will be close, less than a 3% margin. The more this race scatters in the early states, the better for Rudy in the long run.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention what I thought of the Dem race. Obama, by 12!

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