Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire Winners & Losers

Well, the nation's first primary is behind us and Sen. Hillary Clinton emerged triumphant. She scored a 3-point victory over Sen. Barack Obama, even though most polls coming into the day had her trailing by 8-12 points. Her campaign appears to have hit its stride (as Hillary told the New Hampshire crowd: "I found my own voice").

So let's take a look at what caused the dramatic turnaround:

Exit polls made clear that Hillary's 12 point advantage among women (a constituency that Obama carried in Iowa) was the difference in New Hampshire. A variety of factors brought women into the Hillary camp:

Her answer to the likability question in Saturday night's debate: "Well, that hurts my feelings..."
Her voice quiver (authentic or not) when talking about the personal nature of the issues for which she fought
The "Iron my shirt" guy at a New Hampshire rally
And the intense media coverage that crowned Barack Obama and spread dirt over Hillary's campaign casket. It made voters, especially female voters, sympathize with Hillary, and they realized they weren't ready for her to go away just yet.

On the other side, John McCain (who I believe is just finishing up a 6- hour victory speech) completed an astonishing comeback to claim New Hampshire.

Rudy Giuliani was another NH winner: Mitt Romney will not drop out after his disappointing early showings, and will contend with John McCain in Michigan. So, despite claiming only 9% where he spent significant time, Rudy could be the big winner here. The Republican race is wide open and will be more so if Romney wins Michigan, which plays right into Giuliani's long term, big state strategy.

The losers were fairly obvious. Romney's strategy was all about winning Iowa and New Hampshire. But he's still not out of it, even though he lost both because this thing is so wide open. McCain didn't get a total win because he only won by 5 points, largely on his support among independents, so he still has to prove he can win in a closed primary state.

The biggest loser is certainly John Edwards. He angered the Clintons with his attempted alliance with Obama and his strong words against Hillary. Tonight, the Clinton campaign noted that it is now a two- person race. And it appears they are right. Edwards hoped Clinton would implode leaving him as the Obama alternative. Now, with his weak 17%, there does not appear to be room for him in this race.

Meanwhile, cable-news pundits got a big win, because even though they look a little silly with all their Generation- Obama comments and stories, they have a fresh week of material ahead.

It's going to be intense.

1 comment:

the other CM said...

I would much rather have a president with the optimistic enthusiasm of Howard Dean than the unispired torturous speech that McCain delivered. Yes, the media made fun of it, but in a good natured way, without destroying his possiblity for any future wins.