Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire Primary Day

After months of anticipation among the political junkies and pundits, it is finally here. New Hampshire goes to the polls in what will provide hours of droning on about how New Hampshire will force a GOP brokered convention because no frontrunner has emerged and how the Democrats have annointed Barack Obama after he crushes Hillary Clinton.

Already, questions are being asked as to what happened to Hillary. Her campaign was supposed to be the most effective and best funded, and yet it has squandered all that and she's shown that voters are going with Obama instead.

What it boils down to is that Hillary simply isn't that desirable of a candidate - she never was. She doesn't connect with voters and that's something that Obama does well, even as both have virtually similar policy preferences. Hillary's personality rubs people the wrong way. It has nothing to do with her crying moment yesterday, which was called by The Anchoress on January 2 as her polling continued to show her faring badly. Genuine or not, I think she's got serious problems with her campaign strategy, and not even Bill can fix 'em.

As I wrote yesterday, if a candidate shows signs of breaking during the primary run, it doesn't bode well for their capacity to govern as President, which is a nonstop pressure cooker that is 24/7/365 for four straight years. Thomas Sowell echoes those sentiments.

The Times thinks that Hillary miscalculated that the key to the primaries was race and gender, while it appears to have turned on age thus far, which has bolstered the McCain and Obama campaigns.

So, what will happen in New Hampshire today? Well, given that the majority of voters are independents and they get to decide - it's likely to fall to McCain and Obama, who are perceived as the most centrist. It doesn't give any guidance as to what the party faithful are looking for, which is why the race will next focus on South Carolina and Florida after that.

For the GOP, no one candidate is breaking through at this point. Huckabee and Romney have split votes thus far, and McCain looks like he's going to pick up delegates in New Hampshire, which makes one wonder where Rudy Giuliani has been. He's been working nonstop on the states where he's got a big following - big delegate states. With all the others beating up on each other and splitting delegates among them, waiting out the early races was a gamble, but one that might be breaking in favor of Rudy.

Keep this in mind as the day progresses and exit polls and finally the actual results roll in. Record turnout is one thing, but the only thing that actually matters is how many delegates the candidates get. According to CNN, Hillary still has a sizable lead on Obama, but that could change. Meanwhile, the GOP picture is far more cloudy. Romney has a six delegate lead over Huckabee, with 12 delegates at stake in NH. Even if McCain takes the lion's share, Romney is likely to extend his lead over Huckabee and McCain would still be well behind in the pack with Rudy trailing badly - although he has set his strategy on going after the big ticket states that are at the end of the month and Super Tuesday.

Despite Drudge and others claiming that various locales were running out of ballots and more had to be trucked in, Cam Cameron is reporting that such was not the case.
The Secretary of State’s office is worried that some areas especially on the more liberal New Hampshire seacoast will run out of ballots

THEY HAVE NOT ACTUALLY RUN OUT OF BALLOTS ANYWHERE (as has been reported elsewhere) but vans have been dispatched to those areas just in case.

They are not printing new ballots. They have reserves. No one has run out and they don’t expect to run out. This is precautionary.
Also, keep in mind that this is an open ballot state, and the residency requirements are so lax as to be laughable.
This year, New Hampshire Democrats pushed through a change that some Republicans contend would enable campaigns to bus in people who could cast a ballot and then vote again in their real home states. "You can vote in New Hampshire without being a resident," said Republican state Sen. Bob Clegg. "You can vote in the primary because you someday may want to live here."

Democratic state Sen. Peter Burling calls such arguments "part of the campaign of fear to restrict people's right to vote."

New Hampshire's deputy secretary of State, David Scanlan, admits the law is ambiguous about prohibiting people from voting in more than one state. "Everybody has the right to vote somewhere," he said. "The question is where."

In other words, if I wanted to drive up to NH from NJ and vote in the election, I could do so - and NH officials couldn't stop me from voting.

This is yet another reason why it is near impossible to draw any conclusions from the results here, let alone make anything of the heavy turnout.

Trackposted to Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, The Random Yak, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

The polls have closed and the votes are being tallied. So far, according to ABC News at 8:20PM, Hillary has a small, but clear lead over Obama. On the GOP side, McCain has a sizable lead over Romney with Huckabee trailing badly.

It's now 9:20, and ABC shows that the gap between Hillary and Obama is closing steadily. It's now down to three points. On the GOP side, McCain is holding a seven point advantage over Romney, but that too appears to be closing slightly. The Politico's numbers correspond to ABC News.

This is anyone's race on the Democrats side, and it will not be until Super Tuesday that we see someone really break through and lay claim to the nomination. McCain has given his victory speech for winning NH.

Allah wonders if Hillary is going to be able to pull it out and win the state, and notes that the margin between Hillary and Obama is evaporating so the question becomes whether she'll be able to spin even a loss as a victory because she did well despite having all the problems of recent weeks. Spinning accounts for only so much.

It's the number of delegates in the bag that count, and Hillary has to know that while things suck for her at the moment, all of her money can make things happen on Super Tuesday.

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