Days of Change

New Hampshire Guesses | February 10, 2016

The numbers are in for New Hampshire. I think I can now offer my slightly more informed opinions. One factor to consider is that 12.4% of the voter was split among candidates who had either dropped out after Iowa or dropped out today. That alone beats everyone lower than second place. John Kasich was second with 16% but was below 2% in Iowa. It’s a common tactic for contenders to skip Iowa if they think they can win, place or show in New Hampshire. There are now 6 candidates who have at least gotten at least 9% in one primary who are still in it. Jim Gilmore has no chance, but I guess he has nothing better to do.

Let’s get to Donald Trump. First, if you look at the demographics that some used to praise Trump, he was even between Republicans in Independents. This is slightly worse than the Republican field at large in the state. We can probably assume that if anyone chose not to vote in the Democratic primary because Bernie Snders already had a huge lead, that it hurt Trump rather than helped him. Trump also out-performed among people with no college and people with less than full high school education.

Trump has yet to disprove the theory that he has a support ceiling of about 40%. As more candidates suspend their campaigns, any wins more than single digits could be a thing of the past. He also has about 1/3 of the delegates, which will not be enough if other candidates officially support Trump’s eventual single opponent.

Right now, the only other serious competition is Ted Cruz, who places 1st in Iowa and 3rd in New Hampshire. The third player will either be Jeb or Rubio, but Rubio over-performed in Iowa and under-performed in NH. That bad performance kept Jeb from losing his donors and he’ll have plenty of money to burn off trying to win other contests.

Ben Carson got 3 delegates in Iowa and it looks like his high point. He may have truly felt cheated by the dropping out rumors, but focusing on it only highlighted that he went home for suits on the day of the caucuses. He also left New Hampshire on the night of the primary and skipped his own party. He barely spends any money, so he can stay in the race for a while, but it’s over.

John Kasich is another matter. He is now just ahead of Bush in the delegate count. He’s also the only one besides Trump and Cruz to place first or second in a contest so far. He has the potential to be the last establishment candidate if Jeb or Marco Rubio’s fundamental flaws take them down. He’s actually poised to get more big donor money.

As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is beating Sanders in the delegate count, relying on the same super delegate scheme that got Barack Obama the nomination over her in 2008.

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