Ron Paul U.S.A. | Randall Hall | January 6, 2012
New Hampshire is a state that has proven to be very difficult to predict when it comes to primaries. In 2008, both parties saw dramatic outcomes that were not predicted by the polls, even those taken one day before the primary! In a USA Today/Gallup poll taken the day before the Democratic primary, Barack Obama held a solid 10 point lead over Hillary Clinton. In a CNN poll on that same day, Obama held a 9 point lead. In addition, both Obama's and Clinton's internal polling showed Obama had 14 and 11 point leads respectively! This was a slam dunk win for Obama, just like we are hearing about Romney this year! The very next day, Hillary Clinton WON the New Hampshire primary by 3 points, with 39% of the vote over Obama's 36%! The polls were completely wrong across the board and proved to be absolutely worthless. In fact, even the EXIT POLLS showed Obama winning by an average of 8 points!
The Republican primary of 2008 was less dramatic in terms of polling discrepancies, however they were telling. In most polls, McCain and Romney were either tied or McCain had a slight lead. A few polls did show Romney with a 3-4 point lead, but there was not clear trend. McCain won the primary by a significant margin of almost 38% to Romney's 32%, nearly 6 points! Again, the polls overall failed to predict this outcome. The key to both McCain's and Clinton's wins was later shown to the be the Independent voters, who can vote in either party just by going to a polling place and declaring a party on election day.
The Boston Globe's endorsement of Huntsman does one clear thing, it takes votes from Mitt Romney and gives them to John Huntsman! The result is that the gap between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney will decrease, as Ron Paul votes will very likely not be affected. It also casts more doubt on Romney in a state that has proven to be anything but loyal, even though it is in his own backyard!
The New York Times is now projecting that there IS A POSSIBILITY that Ron Paul could win the New Hampshire primary! Notice below that Ron Paul has the potential to get up to 38% of the vote, whereas Mitt Romney could get as low as 26%. That is a rather large overlap which leads to some uncertainty. The likelihood of a win is low, but given the unpredictable nature of the voters in New Hampshire, anything is possible. Ron Paul's appeal to Independents has now been shown to be very strong as witnessed in Iowa. As we mentioned, Independents were the key to swinging the results in favor of both McCain and Clinton 4 years ago! (See GOP Fear is Growing over Ron Paul)
Finally, let's look at the delegates. Four years ago, McCain won by 6 points and walked away with 7 delegates. Romney gained 4 delegates, and even Huckabee grabbed 1 delegate with a distant third place finish and only 11% of the vote. If Ron Paul can put some serious distance between himself and the thrid place candidate Santorum (See Run Rick, Run!), and give Romney a run for the top spot, he could walk away with enough delegates to make this officially a two man race going forward, and steal a "psychological win" in Romney's backyard!