After striking out epically in Iowa, let me take another swing. Some predictions for tomorrow’s New Hampshire primaries:
1. Turnout will be strong, but not earthshaking. The Iowa caucuses brought out about 122,000 participants, up a tiny bit from the 118,000 who participated on the GOP side in 2008. In my experience, NH peeps take their first primary status seriously; they treat voting in the primary as a responsibility, and I think the numbers will reflect that. However, I don’t think we’ll see an enormous turnout like the Dems had in 2008. Just my gut feeling.
2. The media will declare Paul and the ghost of Jon Huntsman the winners, even though they’ll come in 2nd and 3rd. The media’s desire for a narrative that’s less boring that “the dude who’s been leading for a year wins the damn primary” is pushing them to set new watermarks for Romney’s success tomorrow night. For example, my dear Andrew Sullivan [who might object to being referred to as “the media”; sorry, darling] puts the bar at 30%–any percentage below this, even in victory, and Romney will have “lost.”
That said, my money is on both Paul and Huntman to come up nudging 20%. For Huntsman, such a result would be the equivalent of a 1-up mushroom just as it looked like MittKoopa was about to squash him, and the media loves the “back from the dead” narrative. Although there’s no way in hell Hunstman can even show in South Carolina.
3. Perry will come in dead last and give a truly epically embarrassing “concession” speech. Hell, at this point, he might declare war on Canada. Or maybe Mordor.
4. The results will come in much faster than in Iowa. The networks will call it for Romney before 11:30 pm tomorrow night, This will give Newt Gingrich a chance to “concede” during prime time, to remind America that he is way smarter than them, that Mittens is a closet liberal, and that he is on a mission from God. Only without the sunglasses.
5. Buddy Roemer will get on TV on a program other than The Rachel Maddow Show. Roemer, a former governor who’s running on a platform of campaign finance reform, has been totally ignored by well, just about everybody, though he’s been on TRMS quite a few times; he sat in for this interview last week. Beating Perry will land Roemer some interview time on the major networks, even though I suspect he’ll be treated as a novelty, rather than as a serious candidate. And at this point, I think my cat Mingus could get more votes than Perry. And she’s a libertarian.
6. Santorum who? Despite my attempts to raise his profile through my S/D slash fic, he’ll be practically invisible tomorrow night. But–he’ll be back with a vengeance in South Carolina, where his campaign has poured most of the $2 million they made this week into TV ads. So should be fun.