Having survived the arduous weekend of two debates within 14 hours, Mitt Romney continues to appear to hover around 40% of the projected vote in the New Hampshire primaries tomorrow. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul landed some punches but Romney seems to be have deflected them fairly well. While they may take their toll in South Carolina, Romney should likely recover any drop there when he gets to Florida.
While Jon Huntsman appears to be gaining some traction with a second place finish possible, he has little hope to move ahead in either South Carolina or Florida, which will definitely probably keep Santorum in the race for the time being. If Santorum surprises and finishes very strong in New Hampshire, this campaign could be headed for a possible deadlock; but Santorum desperately needs money and staff.
Since 40% of the New Hampshire vote comes from independents, these results really do not provide much insight into the strength of the Tea Party if and when they were to decide to mount their own campaign, should Romney emerge as the likely candidate. All that wins in these two states demonstrate are national momentum for the winner(s) and dips for the loser(s).
Perhaps this year moreso than ever before, the randomness of the candidate selection process truly has been brought into question. Curiously, despite the fact that this year’s Republican primary cycle has been so elongated and featured so many candidates, reports indicate that the traditional infusion of money into the states of Iowa and New Hampshire has been much lower than usual. With the campaigns having been waged in the debates and in the general media, even the TV advertising blitz budgets have been late and smaller.
Nevertheless, to quote that renowned political prognosticator Chuck Norris in Delta Force, for New Hampshire the time has come: It's Showtime. – Let's rock 'n' roll.