Why a Romney Win in New Hampshire Wouldn’t Make a Difference

After the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, the next stop in the Republican primary cycle is the New Hampshire primary. There, Romney has been leading for the vast majority of the campaign with significant support, polling of close to 40% support. With Bachmann suspending her campaign and Perry skipping New Hampshire to focus on South Carolina, the New Hampshire race is down to five contestants: Romney, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Huntsman. Based on polling, I predict that Romney will win the state easily, though whether or not Huntsman strategy of focusing on New Hampshire will succeed like Santorum’s in Iowa remains to be seen. Despite this, however, a Romney win in New Hampshire will mean little in the long run for the GOP nomination.

Because Romney is expected to win New Hampshire handily, a win there would do nothing for momentum for any candidate, neither increasing Romney’s or decreasing any other candidate’s momentum, with the possible exception of Huntsman. The only noticeable effect I can see New Hampshire having on the campaign is the possible drop out of Huntsman. A Romney loss, however, could have dire consequences. Because of Romney’s position in New Hampshire, anything but first place for him would be a significant blow to his candidacy, and overall could be a major game changer. But because that outcome is less likely, it is most likely that South Carolina and Florida, the next two contests after New Hampshire, will determine if Romney is the definite GOP nominee or if an unexpected turn of events changes things.

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  • shinnsm  On January 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Winning the first two contests will still look really good for him. It was close in Iowa, but a win is a win. No non-incument president has actually won both before. He’ll come out of New Hampshire looking strong and people will start to feel like he’s the nominee.

    The splintered vote of the non-Romneys is certainly helping him in South Carolina and Florida. When the race gets down to Romney and one or two other people, it will be interesting to see if Romney continues to win or if enough people feel so strongly against Romney that whoever’s left will actually pose a threat to him.

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