The polls close in most places in New Hampshire at 7 Eastern time, with the remaining in a different time zone closing at 8 Eastern time. Nate Silver’s live-blogging the primary so make sure to stay tuned to him for updates, commentary, speculation, etc.
Mitt Romney, as we all know, finished in a virtual tie with Rick Santorum in Iowa. And as I’ve noted before, Romney has polled solidly in New Hampshire for months now, maintaining double digit leads the whole way. My prediction is that he’ll come out the winner tonight and that it will be announced by the MSM not long after 8 pm. Exit polls are showing that among late deciding voters, 29% went to him. The next highest number, 24% of late deciders, went for Huntsman.
Shockingly enough, in the redder than red state of South Carolina, Romney is in the lead going into the South Carolina primary, which is on January 21. Months ago, I was telling friends everywhere that there was no way in the world Romney would get the nomination, what with the conservative base being fired up at trying to get Obama out of office, and fed up with what some call “establishment Republicans” like Romney. But more and more, I’m reading not just about the “electability” factor but also the “inevitability” factor – that is, once a candidate starts winning and continues winning, voters who haven’t yet had their respective primaries begin to feel that whatever candidate is winning the most is the “inevitable” candidate, and will either not vote in their primary out of a sense of resignation or will go just to say they went – and vote for the “inevitable” candidate.
It’s early still, obviously, but the momentum looks in these early stages to be headed in Mitt’s direction. I like Perry, but he’s made so many mistakes on the campaign trail at this point that not enough people are paying attention to his actual record, while many who are are not comfortable with some aspects of it (key: immigration). Newt seemed to be surging towards the end of the year last year, but has been flailing as of late the deeper people delve into his record. Santorum is known as the “social issues candidate” and that’s about it. Paul is Paul (’nuff said). And Huntsman? He may have a strong showing tonight in NH but he’s not polling well anywhere else that I’ve seen.
As I wrote on Twitter earlier, I HATE the so-called “inevitability” factor when it comes to the nom. process. The process is to let the voters, not the mainstream media (who are loving trying to pick our candidate this year- as usual), decide – even if and when it comes down to the final states (as was the case with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). At same time, I don’t want things dragged out with the eventual nominee being battered to the point that it makes him easy prey for our demagogue President and his followers. Make sense?
What are your thoughts about the possibility of Mitt becoming our nominee? Would you vote for him in the general if the unthinkable (him winning the nomination) happened?
Related depressing reading: