After the celebration in the Huckbaee and Obama campaigns ends, the reality will set in that Iowa is just a small chapter on the road the White House. Iowa was ready for their message and, so far, New Hampshire hasn’t been as accepting to either of them.
First, a short video wrap-up from Reuters:
Let’s break things down for each of the top candidates following the Iowa caucuses.
Hillary Clinton – Well, what can you say. Hillary at least has the polls on her side in New Hampshire but it’s still within 5 or 6 points on average. Considering Obama won Iowa by 9 points or so, that might not mean much. Can Hillary afford to lose New Hampshire? She probably can but that would make this whole process even more wide open. I’m thinking that the debate on Saturday is going to be important in giving New Hampshire voters another look at each candidate.
Barack Obama – The man of the hour for Iowa but can his message translate to New Hampshire. I personally think that it could if he doesn’t screw something up in the next 5 days. He’s got momentum at this point and he will be in New Hampshire energized and ready to go. It will be exciting to see what happens over the next few days with the New Hampshire polls.
John Edwards – I believe that Edwards is on the march to withdrawing from the race at some point. He needed 1st in Iowa but got 2nd, barely edging Hillary for the spot. He doesn’t fair anywhere near as well in New Hampshire and he’s looking at a distant 3rd at this point. We’ll see how things change in the next few days.
Mitt Romney – Romney has some explaining to do considering the fact that he spent obscene amounts of cash in Iowa and got hammered by Huckabee’s groundswell of support. Romney has the big advantage in New Hampshire, they know him already being governor of their neighboring Massachusetts. I’m thinking Romney licks his wounds and probably comes back stronger in New Hampshire. The next 2 debates will either help or hurt him. He’s now battling McCain.
Mike Huckabee – The Republican come-back kid for Iowa anyway. New Hampshire is looking bleak at this point but the polls will have to flush out the Iowa victory. Huckabee’s tied at this point for 3rd place with Giuliani in New Hampshire. However, any decent showing for him means he has a chance to compete in South Carolina. We’ll see how he does in the next 2 debates.
John McCain – McCain is another story of an amazing comeback of sorts. While he didn’t win, just being in the race and being reasonably competitive is enough. He finished 4th in Iowa, but only a few hundred votes behind Fred. The RCP poll average has him leading New Hampshire over Romney by a thin hair. It’s basically a dead heat but the fact that McCain has a serious chance to win is the big news for him. Coupled with his decent showing in Iowa, McCain’s looking good for New Hampshire.
Fred Thompson – Fred is basically a non-factor in New Hampshire, polling behind Ron Paul. In fact, I would argue that it should be Paul, not Thompson, who attends the Sunday Fox News debate. Fred’s next best chance is South Carolina as he’s dead last in New Hampshire and 3rd in Iowa won’t help it.
Ron Paul – I’ll just say that Paul can now continue his push through the primaries coming in last or second to last but not getting any meaningful finishes. He’s got the cash to continue for a long time so he still has a chance for his message to resonate wider with voters. He’s been focusing quite a bit more on New Hampshire, he’ll probably make a decent showing there.
Rudy Giuliani– Rudy’s not competing all that much in New Hampshire and I’m wondering if his super Tuesday strategy is going to work or if all this early reporting and momentum is going to pass him by. He’ll be in both debates this weekend so he will be present but he’s looking more toward the latter states like Thompson at this point.
So that’s it, my assessment at this point.