Seems Ron Paul got the results in New Hampshire this week he had hoped to find last week in Iowa. Coming in a strong second, doing particularly well among young voters (capturing 47% of the vote of those aged 18-24) he showed that, just as in the 1980s a septuagenarian promoting liberty can find a following about twentysomethings.
Jon Huntsman came in third, taking 17% of the vote. Perhaps, he could not capitalize on his bold, conservative platform because many perceive him as more of a centrist. Bryan Preston calls him the “the only not-Romney who managed to govern to Romney’s right and campaign to his left.” (Via Instapundit.) That platform notwithstanding, many saw him as a left-center alternative. Jim Hoft highlighted this tidbit: “In the exit polls, 51% of Huntsman voters said they were satisfied with Obama as president. 70% of the Huntsman voters describe themselves as moderate and liberals.” Do those folks know they were backing a guy whose economic package earned the Wall Street Journal‘s praise?
Mitt Romney had a solid victory. As I write this, he has 95,669 votes (with 95% reporting) and could boost his total into six digits, besting John McCain’s 2008 tally by 10,000 votes; that year, the Arizona Senator won 88,713 votes. Right now, Romney has won just shy of 40%. In 2008, McCain won with 37%. And Romney’s already 20,000 votes ahead of his own 2008 haul.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are duking it out for fourth place, with each just a tad fewer than 23,000 votes and neither breaking into the double-digits (percentage-wise). The former Speaker’s scorched-earth strategy wasn’t very effective. Romney outpolled him by a margin of greater than 4 to 1. Newt won’t come close to Mike Huckabee’s 2008 haul of 26,916 votes.
Bottom line: very good night for Mitt Romney. Good night for Ron Paul. Small possibility for Huntsman to emerge as non-Romney if he can change the nature of his appeal from a perception of liberalism to the conservatism of his platform.