Polls have closed in most of New Hampshire, though people waiting in long lines to vote will still be able to cast ballots. Turnout appears to be record-breaking in some parts of the state.
All recent polling has indicated Donald Trump will win the Republican primary and Bernie Sanders the Democratic primary. The only question is by how much. Although Hillary Clinton did well in last week’s televised town-hall meeting and debate, the last few days of media coverage have been brutal for her. Controversial remarks by Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright have been spun as attempts to “shame” women into voting for Clinton, and I suspect they will drive many late deciders to Sanders. I would not be surprised to see him win tonight by 20 points or more.
On the Republican side, the big question is whether Marco Rubio can hang on to second place after his disastrous debate performance over the weekend. (Speaking of which, David Frum’s comments on that malfunction were particularly insightful.) John Kasich or Jeb Bush could contend for second place–and while we’re on the subject, why did Bush’s super-PAC not go up on New Hampshire television in the summer, when the pro-Kasich super-PAC started running ads?
Although social conservative candidates have typically done poorly in New Hampshire, Ted Cruz may pick up enough support from Rand Paul’s former supporters to finish second or a close third. Chris Christie has faded in the polls but may not drop out if he ends up in the top five and not too far behind the second-place candidate.
Any comments about the primary or the presidential race generally are welcome in this thread. I don’t believe in the convention scenario for Republicans; unless Rubio comes out of New Hampshire strong, Trump still looks like the favorite to wrap up the nomination by May. Clinton should still be favored to win the Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primary, because the electorates in those states are far more racially diverse than in Iowa and New Hampshire. On the other hand, public opinion in many states swung against her quickly during the 2008 primaries.
UPDATE: As I suspected, Sanders is crushing Clinton by more than 20 points. (Her share of the vote so far is almost exactly what it was in 2008, but with a more fractured field that year, 39 percent was enough to win.) I think we have just experienced our last cycle with Iowa and New Hampshire going first in the process, regardless of who wins the nomination. Sanders should get a big bump out of this win, but it may not be enough to win states that are not overwhelmingly white and don’t allow independents to vote in primaries.
Kasich finishing second to Trump is a terrible outcome for the establishment, which was just about ready to unite behind Rubio until the debate disaster. Bush barely making it to double digits after at least $35 million was spent on his behalf in New Hampshire is unimpressive but will keep him in the race. It will be very interesting to see whether Cruz can knock Rubio out in South Carolina.
SECOND UPDATE: Christie is heading to New Jersey rather than to South Carolina, as planned. He spent tons of time campaigning in New Hampshire and had the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper, but couldn’t manage better than sixth place. Like their Iowa counterparts, Granite state Republicans just weren’t buying what Christie was selling.