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Clinton Hangs Onto New Hampshire

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But just barely…

With New Hampshire voters set to go to the polls on Jan. 8, Clinton (N.Y.) got 35 percent in the new poll, with Obama (Ill.) close behind at 29 percent. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) ran third with 17 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was fourth at 10 percent. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio), Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) each registered 3 percent or less. […]

Although Clinton’s edge has shrunk, her supporters are more enthusiastic and loyal than are Obama’s or Edwards’s, and she scores better on measures of strength, experience and electability than any rival. She was also the most trusted on six out of seven issues tested in this poll. But New Hampshire voters said Obama is the most inspiring candidate in the field, by a 2 to 1 ratio over Clinton.

But what happens if Barack wins Iowa? How much of a bump would that give him? Certainly 5%. Probably 10%. Either way, that means New Hampshire goes to him.

And what if Hillary comes in 3rd in Iowa? Everybody acknowledges that Edwards has an amazing ground game there, and remember what happened to the frontrunner in 2004. He went negative late, the polls tightened, he placed 3rd behind Kerry and Edwards…and then he screamed himself into political infamy.

I guess we’ll see…