Wednesday, 9 January 2008

New Hampshire - the aftermath

"I hope things are still unsettled after New Hampshire..."
The quote above is from a comment that Alfred Thompson left on my previous blog post, which was about the US election up to (and including) the Iowa caucus. He typed that because he doesn't want the whole process to be dominated by one person - which is fair enough. What would be the point of voting if that were the case?

Well, it seems he got what he hoped for.

The Democrats
For me, the result was a total surprise. Despite trailing Barack Obama by 10 points in the state polls, Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. All the momentum seemed to be with Barack Obama up until the actual vote.

However, it was only a narrow victory. A difference of 3% is negligable. In Iowa, Obama won and Clinton finished third, so in terms of positions so far, Obama is still ahead. I would give the vote totals so far, but it's impossible as the Iowa Democratic Party only releases a total estimating the number of delegates to the state convention each candidate will receive.

As for the other candidates, John Edwards (who finished second in Iowa), was third, but he was behind Obama by 20% - which has to be disappointing. He will still continue though. Bill Richardson had a better result this time (he got 5%), but he is still far behind the top three and I still believe he will drop out at some point. Dennis Kucinich got 1% and Gravel (once again) got 0%. I would be surprised if Gravel stayed in the race for much longer.

GOP (The Republicans)
The situation for the GOP candidates is very different. John McCain recovered from finishing joint third place Iowa to win the New Hampshire primary. However, the difference between first and second was 5% and Huckabee's winning margin in Iowa was 9%. The GOP race seems to be more open, although Duncan Hunter finished last for the second time and I don't think it will be a long time before he drops out.

Mitt Romney finished in second place again, which is more consistent, but not necessarily advantageous. The positive thing about his results is that he is still getting substantial numbers of people voting for him. Without that, some people might start to doubt his credibility.

Even though Ron Paul got 2% less in New Hampshire, he still has an outside chance because of the large internet following that he has and his record of getting large amounts of money in a short space of time. He needs to start finishing higher in the next two or three primaries though.

Rudy Giuliani continues to disappoint, but I expect him to continue until all 50 states have voted. Fred Thompson will also remain for a while, although he might not necessarily stay until the end.

Futher comments
I've noticed that after Hillary won in New Hampshire, a lot of pundits siad this may be the beginning of the end for Obama. That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. There are 48 states left! The people who said that must have no knowledge of the size of the country. A lot can change in that time. If you consider Hillary's poll-defying result then you'll realise that anything is possible.

The results of Iowa and New Hampshire should only be used as rough indicators of the end result. Historians will tell you that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush became President without a victory in the New Hampshire primary.

I've also noticed that the amount of personality politics has increased dramatically in this election now (there was a lot of that at the start though). I'm hearing less and less about the policies of the candidates. It's sad that election campaigns around the world often end up like that.

The next caucus will be taking place in Wyoming. The Democrats haven't started yet, but you can already see that Romney is ahead, with Fred Thompson second and Duncan Hunter a very surprising third. However, there are still a few days left for people to vote, which means a lot could change.

So, what do you think?

Technorati tags: New Hampshire, Primary, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, USA Election Politics


Alfred Thompson said...

New Hampshire can surprise people. During the last couple of weeks there were a lot of polls being done. I was called at least once a day. Now to be honest there were times when I had a little fun with the polls and didn't quite give a true answer. I suspect that happened a lot. But more importantly a lot of people decided at the last minute. They were not moved so much by the polls or the media but by throughtful review of the candidates and where they stood. And some flipped a coin. :-) I think that what NH highlights is that the decision is not clear and obvious. There is going to be a lot more discussion and voters in other states are going to have to take the same sort of serious look at candidates as Iowa and NH do.

Thief of Time said...

One of the big selling points of Barack Obama is that his 'new democrat' politics are moderate and appeal to all parties and voters- presidentialism in america or statemanlike in Britain. His strength is not in the north-east: it is in the big metropolitan states. Similarly Rudy will pick up votes when the caucus moves out of the sticks and into areas which appreciate his more moderate stance on abortion and gay rights.