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. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.