Who will be left after New Hampshire?


With the endorsement of the Manchester Union Leader I have been waiting to see if Chris Christie will take a jump in the polls in New Hampshire. The answer, according to the very latest Fox poll, is that he hasn't, down at 5%, though other polls show him up near 10%. At the moment Iowa looks like Cruz, Trump, and Rubio, and New Hampshire looks like Trump, Rubio, and Cruz.

Given that, who will be left after New Hampshire? I think it's pretty clear that Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who are betting on Iowa, will be gone before New Hampshire. Ben Carson should be gone after Iowa, but he may hold on until South Carolina, after New Hampshire.

I think New Hampshire itself will eliminate anyone (except perhaps Carson) who doesn't come in the top three. That means I think Jeb Bush will be gone. He has spent so much money and time in New Hampshire that if he can't come in higher than fourth (currently he's sixth), that he will pull out. Kasich won't have any reason for continuing with a fifth place finish, and Christie, who has no national organization, will not be able to do the same if he isn't in the top three. The same goes for Rand Paul, who has another race to run for anyway, in the Senate. Fiorina will also drop out after New Hampshire.

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With essentially three candidates left, what does that mean for Marco Rubio? Common sense suggests he will attract most of the votes of Kasich, Bush, and Christie crowds. Where would that make a difference?

In South Carolina the Rubio coalition, as I shall call it, could have 25% of the vote. Donald Trump is currently leading there with 33%. In Nevada the Rubio coalition would have 22% of the vote; Trump currently has 33% there too.

In California Rubio would have 21%, Ted Cruz is currently leading there with 25%, so that is one state Rubio might be competitive. In Massachusetts Rubio could have 28%; Trump currently has 40%.

In his home state Florida Rubio could have 32%; Trump currently polls at around 33%. So Rubio might have a chance in Florida.

Basically, unless Donald Trump suffers a decline, Rubio's gaining of all the establishment votes isn't going to help him win many primaries, even after other candidates have dropped out.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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