Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire - McCain does it again ... and Hillary makes a comeback?

Well, it seems that the primary campaign is still full of surprises.

Earlier today when Josh Marshall offered his final pre-election roundup before the New Hampshire primary, he expressed the prevailing wisdom by saying that "unless the polls are really fooling us, this is going to be a big night for Barack Obama." The most likely outcome was that Obama would crush Clinton and become "almost the prohibitive favorite" for the Democratic nomination. In short, after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the contest for the Democratic nomination would be pretty much over (which would have been a fairly bizarre outcome).

On the Republican side, McCain--whose campaign had been widely written off for dead up to a few months ago--would probably beat Romney, but his long-term chances of becoming the Republican nominee still looked slim.

Marshall is an astute political analyst, and in fact all the major polls did show Obama leading Clinton decisively--in many cases, as I recall, by more than 10 percentage points--and widening his lead

Well, not quite. As I write this, with about 15% of the votes having been counted, the results on the Republican side seem to confirm the polls' predictions: McCain is leading Romney convincingly, various projections have already declared him the winner.

On the Democratic side, however, Clinton is actually leading Obama so far, and all the projections I've heard suggest that the result is likely to be very close. In other words (unless these projections are all very mistaken), HRC has at the very least managed to transform what was supposed to be a humiliating defeat into a close tie ... and she may even wind up slightly ahead. The Democratic race isn't over yet.

--Jeff Weintraub