Today’s the big day. While the Iowa caucuses received significantly more media coverage, that fact cannot, and should not, undermine the importance of today’s New Hampshire primary. Following the caucusing in the Hawkeye State, four presidential candidates exited the race. Republicans Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum joined Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, in suspending their campaigns for the highest office in the nation. New Hampshire’s primaries have the very legitimate potential to have a similarly significant effect on both parties’ races for the nomination, and so political enthusiasts and pundits across the nation will have their eyes glued to the screen all day in anticipation for the final results.
At present, the RealClearPolitics Average indicates the following: Trump is leading with roughly 31% of the vote, Rubio is in a distant second with 14% of the vote, and Kasich, Cruz, and Bush have 13%, 12%, and 11%, respectively. The close race for second place has been made even more interesting in recent days, as Rubio’s debate performance over the weekend may have cost him substantial electoral support in this key primary state. However, we should also not assume that Trump will handedly take New Hampshire, seeing that he also had an immense lead going into Iowa but still managed to lose to Cruz.
On the Democratic side, Sanders is leading Clinton by more than 13% of the vote, 53.9% to 40.7%. Given Sanders’ ability to come within a single percentage point of Clinton in Iowa, despite the polls indicating a larger margin, it is unlikely that his campaign will lose in New Hampshire.
This primary can entirely shift the dynamic of the presidential race, as more candidates will likely exit upon poor results. Additionally, New Hampshire is often viewed as a source of momentum for candidates going into South Carolina’s primaries on February 20. Thus, a poor performance today could be the detriment of a campaign, while a strong performance could catapult an otherwise background candidate, such as John Kasich, to the front of the race.
Who do you think will win in New Hampshire?