Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Primary Guide

It's your guide to tonight's New Hampshire Republican primary!

I've listed four possible scenarios for each candidate... The first scenario for each candidate is the best; the one in red is worst.


MITT ROMNEY:

1. If he gets more than 40% and wins by double-digits, it's a great night for him.

2. If he gets between 30%-40% and wins by double-digits, he meets expectations with a solid win.

3. If he gets between 30%-40% and wins by fewer than double-digits, he underperforms.

4. If he gets between 20%-30%, he will start trashing Bain at every stop. He will also call himself a "corporate raider" and "vulture" to capitalize on what seems to be working for everyone else.


RON PAUL:

1. If he gets more than 20%, he'll have hurt the anti-Romney cause and will be the subject of more stories on how he can't win the nomination.

In fact, the better Paul does, the more people remind us that he can't win the nomination. And that's fair, and it's 99.9% true that he can't.

2. If he gets between 15%-20%, everyone will yawn.

3. If he gets between 10%-15%, he's underperformed, and we'll get lots of stories about how he's fading, and about how the closer people get to actually making real decisions about whom to nominate, the more they drift away from Paul.

4. If he gets below 10%, KY Sen. Rand Paul will jump in the race.


JON HUNTSMAN:

1. If he gets more than 20%, he is a very happy camper and will talk incessantly about exceeding "market expectations."

2. If he gets 15%-20% and comes within single digits, he will talk incessantly about exceeding "market expectations" and will still be in this thing.

Why?

Because if he's within 10% of Romney, Republicans in South Carolina will take a look at him. Right now, they're not even giving him a glance, and unless he does very well in New Hampshire, that won't change.

3. If he gets between 10%-15%, he will talk incessantly about exceeding "market expectations", but will be done as a candidate.

4. If he gets less than 10%, he will not mention anything about exceeding "market expectations", will announce that he's going back to Utah to reevaluate his campaign, and his advisers will chain him to the bed or maim him with baseball bats so he doesn't take a jog.


RICK SANTORUM:

1. If he hits 20% and comes in 2nd or 3rd, he will be thrilled, and can make the case that he's the guy to face Romney.

He will also self-combust from happiness.

2. If he hits 15%-20% and beats Newt, he will also be pretty thrilled and can make the case that he's the guy to face Romney.

3. If he gets between 10%-15% and Newt beats him, he can't argue that he's anything more than a niche novelty from Iowa.

4. If he gets below 10%, he will immediately ask how many counties are in South Carolina.

And he will press on, and he will start making his sweater vests out of coal.


NEWT GINGRICH:

1. If he gets more than 20% and/or comes in 2nd place, it's total Game On and we're back to a Mitt vs. Newt race.

2. If he gets 15-20% and comes in 3rd place, he can argue that he's the most viable anti-Romney out there.

He will also pitch his pocket Constitution and pick up Das Kapital and start watching the Smurfs (they were communists -- or so I was told, growing up).

3. If he gets between 10%-15%, he will continue on to South Carolina in full Chainsaw Massacre mode, and will get slammed from every establishment and near-establishment figure for bloodying up Mitt Romney worse than a Saw movie.

4. If he gets below 10%, ibid.


RICK PERRY:

1. If he gets above 5%, he can point to the fact that he hasn't hit 5% in polling since OCTOBER, and can argue that there's some kind of maybe, possibly, smallish momentum.

2. If he gets below 5%, even more South Carolinians will abandon the notion that he can be the electable conservative alternative to Romney.

3. If Buddy Roemer beats him (they're currently neck-and-neck at 1%), Perry's spokesman Ray Sullivan will personally take Perry on a fishing trip.

Either that or he'll take him to a "farm where Perry can run and play."

Now -- for my official predictions.

1. Romney 36%

2. Paul 20%

3. Huntsman 16%

4. Gingrich 13%

5. Santorum 12%

6. We won't know the Perry vs. Roemer winner until late tonight or early tomorrow. I'm staying up!

UPDATE: 5:50 PM: I revised my numbers, since a reader noted I was well short of 100%. Now it's 97%, which leaves the crumbs for the rest of the candidates.