Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The New Hampshire Primary:
Warming up the leftovers

My work schedule did not allow me time to discuss the numbers earlier today, but waiting nearly 24 hours after the tabulations has some advantages.

The Democrats: Bernie's win was about the size the polls expected, but folks watching the upcoming primaries suggest that his win was not big enough.  I'm not going to nitpick numbers with these folks, but I do expect some momentum for Sanders after New Hampshire. Hillary has problems of her own, most notably the investigation of the e-mail server stuff, so I certainly can't say it's a lock for either candidate. The national polls on average say Hillary is still the favorite, but the next few weeks will tell how much of a favorite.

The GOP: Let's review some of the stuff I though would be surprises in my preview on Monday.

Trump's margin of victory: Completely in line with what was predicted by the polls when you factor out the none of the above.

No more than a five point spread between second and fifth: Kasich is 5.2% above Rubio, so that's a mild surprise.

Jeb:( in fifth, Christie in sixth: Bush actually caught and passed Rubio, which is a real surprise. The polls after the debate did not give a clue to how much the dissatisfaction with Rubio's debate performance would matter, and I know a lot of people who think this is his doom.  I'm not going there just yet, but a few weeks of sinking polls and bad performances in the rest of the February contests in South Carolina and Nevada should sink him.

Let's also look at some non-surprises that count as news.

Fiorina and Christie call it quits: Christie had promised he would go to South Carolina no matter what happened in New Hampshire, but he's lied before. While neither of them really ever had a chance, they do represent about six points now up for grabs.  I expect that will help the Establishment Trio - Kasich, Jeb:( and Rubio - more than it will help the Nihilist Twins, Trump and Cruz. Carson is only holding on because someone think he can still make money on his book tour by being in the debates.  It should also be noted he is still in fourth place in the national polls, but given his stank performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, that just can't last.

Scrutiny for Kasich: To call Kasich a moderate is to declare words no longer have meanings, but of the Establishment Trio, he's the one that hasn't shown disastrous campaigning skills.  This may only be due to his lack of exposure. It's a given that lack of exposure ends as of yesterday.

There are a lot of factors now, more than I can sort out as a hobbyist. A lot of pundits now think Trump is inevitable. I will reserve judgment on that. A lot of people think Kasich is doomed because he has so little money. That is a very minor problem in the post Citizens United era. All he needs is one billionaire who has had enough with Rubio or Jeb:( and his money problems are a thing of the past. I will say that Trump losing in February in South Carolina or Nevada will be real trouble for his campaign, and my crystal ball is currently on the fritz when trying to look as far ahead as Super Tuesday.

My view is that no one should buy any champagne yet. It's still a long slog and the favorites are nowhere near inevitable yet.

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