Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Hampshire Results: Trump, Sanders and Kasich are the Big Winners...And We Nail It Again!

Now we can say the once unthinkable.  It is so outlandish as to be the stuff of parody.  Reality TV comes to politics?  It’s real all right, even surreal.  The 2016 New Hampshire primary is like none that came before it, and now it is in the books.

Who Won:  We can now say the words that were unfathomable just eight months ago – the winners of the New Hampshire primary are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  Both won comfortably, Trump by 19 points, 35/16 over John Kasich, while Bernie thumped Hillary Clinton by a whopping 60/38 (with 93% of the vote in).

Who Also Won:  The other big winner was John Kasich, who finished a solid second and won the mainstream “race within a race.” He garnered 16% of the vote, creating clear space between him and Jeb Bush (fourth with 11%), Marco Rubio (fifth, also with 11%) and Chris Christie (sixth, with 7%), beginning what he hopes will be the consolidation of the more moderate wing of the party around him.  Bush can call this a win of some kind, having beaten Rubio and Christie, and Ted Cruz hung in by coming in third (with 12%), in a state with few evangelicals.

Who Lost:  Marco Rubio took his Iowa momentum and lost it all in the face of a disastrous debate performance last Saturday night when he was publicly mugged by Chris Christie and reduced to an automaton.  He slumped to a meager 10%, barely ahead of Christie.  Christie did the dirty work but his sixth place finish will be good for a one-way ticket to Jersey.  At least he goes with the knowledge that for all intents and purposes he took Rubio down with him.  If Christie exits (and he has canceled all South Carolina appearances), he may be joined quickly by Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, who each finished in the low single digits and no longer have a rationale for their candidacies.

Hillary Clinton did not have a good night either.  Her hope was to win the expectations game by keeping her losing margin in the single digits.  She did not come close.  She may take comfort in her looming southern “firewall,” but if she wants to become President, she had better come up with a compelling message to drive her candidacy.  Whatever she has tried so far – her experience, her competence, her pragmatism, even her fighting spirit – none of it is working.  She needs Eli Gold on the scene, right now.

And We Won Too:  It was another excellent night for Born To Run The Numbers, giving us not only a perfect 4-4 in calling winners so far, but the key call of Kasich in second (with exactly 16% no less).  Plus all the predicted numbers were remarkably close to the actuals.  The only big miss was Rubio, who dropped to fifth instead of the predicted third.  The Bernie margin was a bit bigger than we thought, but most of the pundits thought it would actually be much closer.  Here are our predictions versus the actuals.


But it wasn’t just our numbers that nailed it in New Hampshire.  Check out this paragraph from Steve’s write-up of last Saturday’s GOP debate:  “But we doubt that the good people in New Hampshire will reward the thuggish Jersey Boy for ripping Rubio. Rather, the likely beneficiaries were Kasich and Bush, who were both spirited, upbeat, and appealing. Look for Kasich’s stock to soar over the next 72 hours, as he showed more force, more vision, and more gravitas than Bush.”  Pretty darn accurate.

Where to next?  The action moves to South Carolina and Nevada, with the Dems in Nevada and the GOP in South Carolina on February 20, and then they flip with the GOP in South Carolina on February 23 and the Dems in Nevada on February 27.  South Carolina does a primary while Nevada caucuses.

The most recent polls, while a bit stale, show Hillary with big leads in both states, but New Hampshire could change all that.  I can’t see Bernie ever overcoming her 37-point lead in South Carolina (that poll was in mid-January), but he could heavily dent her 23-point lead in Nevada as of mid-December.

On the GOP side, South Carolina will be a bloodbath, as the (presumed) remaining five candidates (Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Bush and Rubio) go at it ferociously.  Trump and Cruz were 1-2 in polling from a month ago, but lots has happened since.  This is pro-Bush country, as both 41 and 43 won the primary there.  This may be a last stand for Rubio, and Kasich needs a decent showing as well.

We’ll be back with our predictions!


  1. Kasich seemed a little too excited about his second place victory. This is proof that good clean politics is effective? Did he not notice who got double his votes?

    1. Well, yeah, that's a very fair point. But the theory is that if were to consolidate the "establishment" vote (his votes plus Bush, Christie, Rubio), he'd have the potential to reach 45% of the vote. I think he was excited about his sudden potential to consolidate the "establishment" support, which is indeed a "win;" and with far more interesting implications than the mere fact of finishing second to Trump.


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