Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Gaming out New Hampshire

Last night, as the Iowa caucus results were trickling in, I posted my predictions for the New Hampshire primary. I posted two because of one important variable: Buddy Roemer. The former Louisiana governor has been excluded from all debates so far but recently scored 3% in a poll of New Hampshire and will be in the upcoming debates if he can grow that to 5% in one of the slew of polls that are likely to come. If he were to get into the debate, I suspect he would pick up a handful of votes in the primary, likely at the expense of Jon Huntsman.

So here is my prediction explained:

Romney: 32%

This is the exact share of the vote he got in New Hampshire in 2008. He also scored a repeat of his 2008 result in Iowa (25% both yesterday and four years ago). I think that the net effect of yesterday's Iowa result (Romney winning just barely over a surging Santorum) will have little effect on Romney's standing in New Hampshire, no bump but no anti-bump either. I do think though that the Newt Gingrich/New Hampshire Union Leader tag team against Mitt will have an effect and likely will see him dragged down from the mid-40s he's been seeing in polls there recently.

Huntsman: 20%*

The respected political observer Nate Silver opined that the best Iowa result for Huntsman was what we saw last night. Huntsman currently averages 10% in New Hampshire polls and can likely expect to enjoy a mini-Santorum effect for having worked the hardest in New Hampshire, especially with votes being shaken lose from Romney by the Newt/UL assault.

Gingrich: 17%

Newt is going to tear down Mitt Romney and be re-endorsed "every damn day" by the Union Leader. He should be able to parlay this, along with a fourth place double-digit showing in Iowa after having been written off, into a strong position in New Hampshire.

Paul: 17%

Paul currently averages 19% in polls of New Hampshire. A win in Iowa may have allowed room for growth but I suspect he keeps to his core support of 15-20%.

Santorum: 13%

Santorum has barely registered in most New Hampshire polls, but I suspect he will get a surge here similar to what Mike Huckabee got in 2008 under similar circumstances.

Perry and Bachmann: less than 1% between them

While I expected Perry to drop out and Bachmann to continue, the opposite happened today. Regardless, both of their names remain on the New Hampshire primary ballot and both of them will get less than 1%

Roemer: ~0% or 6%*

Buddy isn't likely to play here very much unless he gets the exposure of a debate. If he does, I forecast he gets 6% mostly at the expense of Huntsman.

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