Well, it looks like New Hampshire voters defied expectations by failing to defy expectations.
The hype the last week has been (apart, of course, from Dean’s Iowa disaster followed by his near-miraculous recovery as predicted here last week) that NH voters are a cantankerous lot, prone to proving the pollsters wrong just for the sake of sticking it to the pollsters.
But not this year — the results were almost exactly in line with Zogby’s numbers yesterday and this morning.
So what’s it all mean?
It means John Kerry has some real strength in the upper midwest and New England — two places where a mostly-old school Democrat should poll well.
It means Howard Dean still has some wind in his sails. How much? We’ll find out in South Carolina.
It means Wes Clark has yet to find a home anywhere — which is kind of typical for career Army guys.
It means John Edwards had better do well in South Carolina, otherwise he’s going to find himself short of money — death to any candidate.
It means Joe Lieberman needs to go back to just being that nice Senator from that small state back East.
And the big picture? Not sure if there is one just yet. If Kerry can eke out wins in the South, or at least stay above (what I think might become) an Edwards-Clark bruisefest, then he’s going to be almost impossible to beat. I still think the race will come down to a contest between Kerry and Edwards, but if the pretty boy can’t raise more money, then he’s as good as gone.
Super Tuesday is too expensive to run on a shoestring, yet that’s exactly what Al Sharpton is doing — which complicates matters further for Edwards. But my gut still tells me he’s got a strong shot at the nomination.
THOUGHT: If we end up with a Kerry-Edwards ticket (or Edwards-Kerry), Republicans should adopt this informal slogan: “Flush twice. We’ve got two Johns.”