Sunday, February 7, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: What Will New Hampshire Say?

Now that the final pre-New Hampshire debates are over, and
the last credible pre-primary polls have been taken, there is
an aura of mystery about what judgments New Hampshire
voters will make on Tuesday, February 8.

Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire infallibly predicts the
presidential nominees; in fact, Iowa rarely does.

Iowa did provide some unpredicted insights, however.
First, it showed that the national polls indicating Donald Trump
with a big lead can be very misleading. It also demonstrated once
again how desperate the Democratic Party establishment is to
protect Hillary Clinton from bad news. A confusing and
complicated Iowa Democratic caucus voting system resulted in
a virtual mathematical tie between Bernie Sanders and Hillary
Clinton, but hid the almost certain fact that Sanders had outpolled
Clinton in the popular vote. Iowa also demonstrated that
Republicans are more energized this cycles than Democrats, but
that young liberal voters are energized, too, and overwhelmingly
prefer Sanders to Clinton.

Conventional wisdom has Sanders and Trump winning in New
Hampshire, but with uncertain margins. Until the debate, Marco
Rubio had been surging into second place in the Granite State.
The mainstream media then judged that Rubio had been the
biggest loser in the pre-New Hampshire debate, and that Chris
Christie, John Kasich and Jeb Bush had been the biggest winners.
But will New Hampshire voters see it that way?

Conventional wisdom has Sanders winning in the first primary
by at least ten points, but then sees little positive opportunities
for him in South Carolina, Super Tuesday and beyond. If the
Iowa precedent of high youth turnout is repeated, however, what
will happen in the rest of the states, each of which have numerous
college and university campuses? Why are there now renewed
calls and efforts being made to bring Vice President Joe Biden
back into the race month after he decided not to run?

Can Rubio recover? Might Christie finally break out? Does Jeb
Bush still have a chance? Is it too early to write Ted Cruz off?
Will Kasich show staying power?

All these question are now up in the air. New Hampshire voters
are likely to pull a few surprises of their own in answering some
of these questions, and raising new ones.

It’s beginning to look more and more like a very long political

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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