As expected, Mitt Romney skated to victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday. In the process, he “became the first Republican to sweep the first two contests in competitive races since 1976.”
New Hampshire was a leading indicator of who would get the nomination and possibly the White House until 1992. That’s when Bill Clinton made history by being the first presidential candidate to lose New Hampshire but win the White House. Paul Tsongas won with 33% of the vote. George Bush (2000, John McCain won with 37% of the vote) and Barack Obama (2008, Hillary Clinton won with 39%) followed suit.
Thus it’s possible, but not probable, that Romney will be edged out of the GOP nomination.
Moreover, there are about 40% more undecided voters in this overwhelmingly white state (94%) than there are Republican voters (231,611 to 312,621). Perhaps the state has gotten too out-of-step with our increasingly multi-cultural melting pot.
Next week’s contest in South Carolina is a showdown in another demographically unrepresentative state. It’s less white and Hispanic/Latino but more black than the national average. It has proportionally fewer foreign-born citizens, fewer high school grads and fewer folks with college degrees. Finally, it’s poorer: 17.1% of its citizens lived below the poverty level in 2009, compared to 14.3% nationally. (New Hampshire: 8.6%)
Newt Gingrich might do better in S.C. if the state’s GOP faithful are feeling neighborly, but he has an uphill battle. Will his not-a-product-of-my-campaign 28-minute, gambling-funded docu-ad (thank you, SCOTUS) siphon votes from Romney or paint the Newt camp as hysterical? Time will tell.
Eeek! iPad typo in headline fixed!
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill, wiredpen.com