Overall, I don’t think so. Here’s why.
Sure, there will be a few pundits here and there who talk about Hillary’s amazing comeback and how badly this has hurt his chances, but ultimately I think it’s going to swing back in Obama’s favor.
See, the poll numbers are what set the expectations. As such, the pollsters will be blamed for raising them so high for Obama and setting them so low for Hillary. To his credit, Barack played it cool, predicted a good night and that’s exactly what he got. There’s no doubt that Hillary had a GREAT night and she should get praise for really bringing it home down the stretch, but to blame Obama for faulty poll numbers just doesn’t seem like something the media can credibly do. Not that it’s really stopped them in the past, but to follow up amazingly bad polling with “We were incredibly wrong so you’re now weaker?” doesn’t seem like an argument they’re going to make.
And to the point of this helping Obama, well, the story will be that there was a bounce after Iowa and it pulled him into a very close, very strong 2nd place. The reason he can make this case is he’s a strong candidate who can inspire and if you saw his speech last night, you’ll know that he still mops the floor with the other candidates when it comes to election night speeches.
“Yes We Can” sets him up for the next contest, the caucuses in Nevada. In fact, he received the endorsement of the SEIU in Nevada after he lost last night and we’ll see if the Culinary Workers Union jumps on board today. Also, there’s word that his campaign has raised $8 million in the last 8 days, with another $500,000 coming in the hours after last night’s defeat.
What this means for Hillary is all that New Hampshire did was stop the bleeding. Remember, she was supposed to win Iowa, New Hampshire, etc., and by her campaign’s own admission they had been running as if this were a reelection campaign, as if she had already had the job. So yes, it was a great night for her, but she’s going to have to pull off some major, decisive wins before she can credibly knock Obama off the top spot, because that’s where he still remains today.