New Hampshire Primary Predictions

On the Democratic side, Sanders wins this one. The open question is how big a victory. How about this for a guess:
Sanders 56
Clinton 44

Sanders 60 Clinton 38

This will be Sanders' high-water mark as Iowa and New Hampshire are the most fertile grounds for Sanders. Mostly likely, going forward Clinton will start racking up clear cut wins.

What could happen to shift the race?

(1) Those "d@m# emails." Even though Sanders won't talk about them, reporters do and probably enough voters do to keep the issue alive. Thus, if the FBI were to declare there was wrongdoing, or some other "shoe drops," it will further erode confidence in Clinton's denials.

(2) Perhaps, those high-priced Clinton "Wall Street" speeches may get leaked in some fashion (remember the Romney 47% remark?) thus further emboldening the Sanders side.

(3) If Sanders' victory gets close to the 20% mark (I forecast only a 12% win), then the rebellion in the party is far stronger than anyone has expected. Nevada and South Carolina will be the next tests before the mega-primaries of March. If the rebellion is real, a 20% win in NH demonstrates it, then it will continue to show up in stronger than expected showings in states that are not natural Sanders territory. 

UPDATE: Indeed, there is now panic in Team Clinton and the Democratic establishment as Sanders had a 22% victory. The rebellion appears to be for real. The next key data point for the rebel forces of Sanders is whether somebody replicates the Quinnipiac poll (2/2-2/4) that shows close national numbers

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it remains a total mess. The post-Iowa controveries and pre-New Hampshire debate muddied the waters taking the bounce out of the Cruz win and the stronger than expected finish by Rubio.

My impressions:

Cruz numbers will slip in New Hampshire as the Iowa Carson controversy will put a dent in his support on top of the fact that NH wasn't friendly territory for Cruz anyway. If he were to slip to 5th, his team should be worried.

UPDATE: The TedHeads are happy with a third place finish.

Trump will probably hang on to win but he will continue to under-perform his polling numbers. If he were to lose, S.S. Trump is taking on water and that would be huge!

UPDATE: The Trump-petters are happy with their "yuuge" victory.

Rubio will take a hit from Saturday's debate but probably not as big as the "Beltway Media" thinks. He could have distanced himself from the others but as it stands I think he barely hangs onto the number two spot in NH. It would not be surprising if he slips to third. If he were to slip to 5th, his team should be worried.

UPDATE: Team Rubio is worried as the debate gaffe dragged them from a likely 2nd place finish down to 5th place. Shaking the too young, too inexperienced, not-ready-for-prime time image may prove difficult. I clearly underestimated the impact of that sequence of unfortunate events on the debate stage. Gov. Perry never recovered from his stumble in 2012. Dan Quayle was never taken seriously again after 1988 despite serving four years as vice-president. Will see if Rubio can make a joke out of it at the next debate and hit it out of the park to resuscitate his now on-life support campaign. 

Kasich would like to win the "governor's sub-primary" against Bush and Christie. If he gets less than 10%, I don't see how he can stay in the race. Ohio isn't until March 15 so he has to show some stronger support somewhere before Ohio and New Hampshire is his best venue for that. I think he accomplishes this. If he were to slip to 5th, his team should be worried.

UPDATE: For the best collection of pundits giving their viewpoints, I check out the Hugh Hewitt radio show. Seems like many of the experts interviewed on the show believe Kasich is going to sneak into a second place finish. Certainly, in the professional political watching class, the Rubio stumbles on Saturday weigh heavily. I am skeptical that this view is as strongly held by the average voter even voters as tuned in a New Hampshire voters. We shall see tonight!

UPDATE: The Kasich campaign has to be happy with the clear cut silver medal finish. The problem is now scaling up for the multi-state races in March and going into regions of the USA where his more centrist views will not play as well.

Bush would like to win the "governor's sub-primary" against Kasich and Christie. If he gets less than 10%, I don't see how he can stay in the race. Florida isn't until March 15 so he has to show some stronger support somewhere before Florida. However, I think he gets enough to keep going even if he finishes 5th as long as it is more than 10% in a tightly clustered two-fifth place candidate totals. A distant 5th is a different story and would be trouble.

UPDATE: A third place finish would have been better but a fourth place finish is okay. 

Christie knocked Rubio down a peg or two but it probably won't revive his campaign enough. If he gets less than 10%, I don't see how he can stay in the race. New Jersey isn't until June and NJ neighboring states aren't until April. I think it is too little too late.

UPDATE: Stick a fork in 'em, he is done.

Trump 27%
Rubio 16%
Kasich 15%
Cruz 14%
Bush 13%

Trump 35%
Kasich 16%
Cruz 12%
Bush 11%
Rubio 11%

Each caucus/primary is the political equivalent of the Survivor Tribal Council where somebody gets voted off the campaign trail. Iowa ended previous Iowa winners the efforts of Santorum and Huckabee, and the Paul campaign as well. New Hampshire is likely to end Christie's bid. There will be calls for Fiorina and Carson to step out of the race. The problem is that the Kasich/Bush/Rubio three-headed monster clears a path for Trump.