New Hampshire Winners and Losers
by Jen Green
The New Hampshire Primary was the “other side of the coin” from the Iowa caucuses. In fact, if the caucus was Dr. Jekyll, the New Hampshire primary is Mr. Hyde. While much is made about the caucuses being “overrun” by evangelical, socially conservative voters, in the granite state almost 50 percent of those polled upon exiting the voting identified themselves as “moderate and liberal.” 87 percent of voters said they are “not evangelical or born again” although 70 percent of them identify as either Catholic or Protestant. In fact, only 53 percent of those polled said that they are registered Republicans.
So, yeah. It’s a different kettle of fish up there in New Hampshire. But, we had a primary, so let’s examine the winners, the losers, and who is holding their own.
Mitt Romney: It might not have been the landslide victory the campaign hoped for (needed), but still, it’s a win. And, if the vote counts from Iowa hold up, he can say he has won (barely) the first two contests of the 2012 election process. The media is already spinning it as serious momentum . . . and since this is largely a game of perceptions, then Mitt has momentum.
Ron Paul: It was a good night for Ron Paul. This solid second place finish represents almost a threefold better finish than in 2008, lots of independent cross-over votes, and a growing segment of the population who is waking up to the realization that the establishment represents absolutely no relief from our ever-growing government dependency.
The Mainstream Media: They’ve been telling us Romney is the frontrunner while whitewashing his record . . . and now their self-fulfilling prophecy may be coming true.
Rick Santorum: Iowa’s (true?) caucus winner could not capitalize on the momentum from his Iowa win and translate it into New Hampshire votes, despite having visited the state 30 or so times. His struggle for fourth place against Gingrich mirrors what happened to Mike Huckabee in 2008. The conundrum is compounded by the fact that Rick Perry will also be running in South Carolina . . . the next state that Santorum could (and must) do well in.
The Union Leader/Gingrich: Maybe it was because they called him “not the perfect candidate,” but the conservative New Hampshire newspaper’s endorsement did little to help Newt Gingrich in last night’s primary. He’s still fighting, though, and he’s onto the much more negative-ad friendly ground of socially-conservative South Carolina to expose Mitt Romney’s liberal record.
Jon Huntsman: Iowans pick corn and not presidents and New Hampshire Republicans choose Romney and not Huntsman. He can take little comfort that most of the Democrats who chose to vote in a Republican primary voted for him. There’s that.
Holding their Own
Rick Perry: Yes, I know, he got zip, zilch, nada in New Hampshire. But, you can’t win when you don’t play—and he never intended to play or win in that state. Instead, he’s been trying to beef up his ground game in South Carolina. Whether he’s trying to win or just playing spoiler (a la Fred Thompson), he wasted little time and effort in the Granite State.
There you have it. Another New Hamphire Primary has come and gone. Take a few breaths . . . and South Carolina, here we come.