Newt Gingrich said that if Mitt Romney didn’t get a 50 percent win in New Hampshire, it wouldn’t be a mandate for his nomination. In 2008 in NH, John McCain received only 37.71 percent of the vote and went on to win. Mike Huckabee came in third with 11.44 percent. This week Romney came in with almost 40 percent of the NH vote compared to 32.17 in 2008. The Iowa Caucus took place on the same date, Jan. 3rd, both years.
For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by 39.09 percent in 2008, beating Barack Obama’s 36.45 percent, but Obama went on to win the nomination. John Edwards came in third at 16.94 percent. There will obviously be no Democratic primary in 2012 but what this says is that New Hampshire isn’t always a clincher. When Obama became the Democratic presumptive nominee on June 3, 2008, New Hampshire then cast all its 30 votes for him, one of only three states to do so.
For years now the New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucus have received more media attention than all the other primaries combined. This publicity and resulting momentum by a decisive frontrunner can have great impact on the future of his or her candidacy. According to one report, a win in New Hampshire can increase that candidate’s share of the resulting primary count by 27 percent.
Former NH Gov. John Sununu said that people in Iowa pick corn, people in New Hampshire pick presidents, referring to the race to be the first primary. From the late 1980s the NH primary has been considered an early measurement of the national attitudes toward candidates. One of the major reasons the state is a good representation of political sentiment across the U.S. is that Independents are allowed to vote in the primary, although with some manipulations at the time of voting.
What isn’t representative in New Hampshire, and which will be a significant factor in 2012, is that the state is only 4 percent Hispanic compared to 25 percent nationwide. If Latinos get themselves organized and continue their efforts to register qualified voters, this block could be awesome and throw the NH Primary results into a quandary. In other words, it’s all up in the air and nothing is really certain until the fat lady sings in November.
Forty percent of voters in New Hampshire are Independent which is in keeping with their representation nationally and this is a major reason it is considered a swing state in national elections. But as far as predictions go, Bill Clinton, Geo. W. Bush and Barack Obama came in second in the NH Primary and all went on to become President. So go figure for November.
But does this mean that Ron Paul, who came in second this year in New Hampshire with 23 percent, has a chance at the presidency? I think not, and this just confirms what a crazy year for politics this has been so far, and will continue to be until the November elections. I think it is also a solid sign that voters will both register and come out in droves in November, emerging from an apathetic population that has decided it isn’t going to take it anymore.
Of course the outcome will be heavily favored toward progressives.