Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 things we learned in the New Hampshire primary

So much for New Hampshire's reputation for surprises and bucking conventional wisdom. The Republican presidential race looks barely different than it did before Tuesday: Mitt Romney is a flawed front-runner marching toward the nomination while rivals splinter the anti-Romney vote. Still, the Granite State did teach us some things:

1 Romney will be very hard to stop. South Carolina once looked like a tough state for Romney, but now he's well-positioned to win thanks to a still-crowded field. If he goes three for three — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — the race could be all but decided by the Jan. 31 primary in Florida. He continues to suffer from an authenticity deficit and a knack for gaffes, but Romney's appeal is broadening. New Hampshire exit polls showed him winning among those looking for the strongest general election candidate across the ideological spectrum — moderates, conservatives, tea partiers.

2 Romney's fundamental premise is diminished. He's campaigning as a business whiz and problem-solver, but as the economy continues to improve and rivals attack him as a leveraged buyout vulture, his private-sector background may be as much a liability as an asset.

3 Ron Paul is more than a gadfly. It's hard to see how a candidate viewed as unacceptable by more than 4 in 10 Republicans wins the nomination. But after drawing more than 20 percent of the vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, Paul eschews his fringe candidate status.

4 Single-state strategies rarely work. Rudy Giuliani's failed 2008 "Florida! Florida! Florida!" campaign should have been a lesson. Rick Santorum had a strong Iowa showing after camping out there, but his social conservatism did little for him in New Hampshire. Jon Huntsman staked it all in New Hampshire, but it's hard to see how his distant third-place finish does much, unless his billionaire father funds a massive campaign in South Carolina and Florida.

5 GOP excitement is missing. Polls consistently show Republicans more energized than Democrats this election cycle, but in rally after rally in New Hampshire it was striking how little enthusiasm the crowds showed. One in three New Hampshire voters said they would be dissatisfied with Romney as the nominee and one in three said they would like to see someone else run. There's little doubt Republicans will turn out to beat President Barack Obama, but it's an open question whether likely nominee Romney can motivate an army of volunteers to mobilize every last vote.

5 things we learned in the New Hampshire primary 01/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Controversial landfill site could be rechristened as industrial recruiting land in Pasco

    Economic Development

    The east Pasco property of Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which failed to obtain a state environmental permit to be developed as a garbage landfill, is being studied as a potential 1,000-acre mega site for industrial recruitment.

  2. Joe Henderson: At son's wedding, memories of child-rearing build to a perfect moment

    Columns

    On a secluded beach known as Hawksnest on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a bride-to-be named Heather McNeill hurried along a wooded path to meet the man she was about to marry.

    Heather McNeill married fellow Strawberry Crest High teacher Ben Henderson on a secluded beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "They wanted something totally theirs," says Ben's dad Joe Henderson. "I think they had their parents in mind, as well." [Courtesy of Henderson family]
  3. Forecast: Near record-high temperatures, minimal rain in store for Tampa Bay

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents can expect a significantly hot Wednesday — possibly record-breaking — and a small chance of pop up showers.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Marriott opening new hotel on Clearwater Beach

    Tourism

    CLEARWATER BEACH — A dual-branded Marriott hotel with a tongue-twister name is opening on Clearwater Beach in August. The Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will have 255 suites total, connected by a lobby.

    A dual-branded Marriott hotel called the Residence Inn Tampa Clearwater Beach and SpringHill Suites Tampa Clearwater Beach will open in August in Clearwater Beach. Pictured is a rendering.
[Courtesy of Hayworth PR]