To the shock of no one, Mitt Romney took New Hampshire last night, building on his 2008 Republican run in the state to get 39 per cent of the vote when everything was said and done. If you want to dive into some of the numbers yourself, I’d suggest going over to the Fox News page for this primary, which is pretty well designed.
Ron Paul took 23 per cent of the vote and, going by exit poll numbers, continues to be a big draw for the under-thirty crowd. Jon Hunstman, who had concentrated a lot of his efforts here in hopes of building momentum that would carry him through a more socially conservative state like South Carolina — up next on the Republican Primary Road Show — got 17 per cent. It’s a respectable number for a candidate who did dismally in Iowa, but not enough to spark further hope in the campaign. (I personally blame his daughters, who tweeted early yesterday that this was their song of the day.)
I was watching the CNN coverage last night. They, like every news source, waiting until every poll was closed then instantly projected that Romney was going to win. The rest of the time was taken up with the fun 24-hour news channel theatrics I love. They filmed Hunstman in his hotel room through the sliding glass door of the balcony. Piers Morgan suggested that the Democrats would want this competition settled early so that they could start campaigning against one opponent, after which every pundit in the room descending on him, including one person who might have been Roland Martin shouting without a microphone, off camera, and from across the room.
They also gauged how “undecided” voters in South Carolina felt during the speeches of the night, which hit a snag when they were interviewing the participants. One of the only people in the room in his twenties said something along the lines of “If Ron Paul doesn’t get the nomination, I’m voting for Obama.” Sigh.
For some great perspectives on the night, check out Nate Silver’s live blog of the event over at his FiveThirtyEight blog. He hasn’t updated his South Carolina predictions yet as I’m writing this, but he’s definitely right to see Newt Gingrich as the last real challenger to Romney for the Republican nomination.