On Tuesday New Hampshire voters go to the polls to nominate candidates for the two major political parties for the presidency.
After the smoke clears there will be casualties in the Republican field, just as after Iowa, meaning choices should be fewer by the time Nevadans and South Carolinians head to the polls, starting Feb. 20 and beyond. (Nevada Dems caucus Feb. 20 and GOP on Feb. 23. S.C.’s GOP primary is Feb. 20, while Dems primary is Feb. 27.)
After Iowa, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum bailed.
In New Hampshire, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are leading in that order, according to Real Clear Politics, though John Kasich is a close fourth.
Since New Hampshire is a primary state — unlike Iowa which held caucuses in which people actually got to talk to each other perhaps changing minds, possibly resulting in the polls being wrong about Trump winning — the polls might be more reflective of the outcome in N.H. without the arm twisting.
The odds are that the odd men and women out after N.H. will be Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie and/or Carly Fiorina.
Obviously, though Bernie Sanders handily leads Hillary Clinton in N.H. and virtually tied in Iowa, there is no chance of either exiting early.
All the polls were conducted prior to Saturday’s GOP debate and the Sunday talking head shows, so those events may cause some movement of choices.
Another factor is that 40 percent of the voters in N.H. are independents, but the state allows them to vote in either primary. That could throw a wrench into cogs if there is a — pardon the oxymoron — organized chaos effort, reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos.
The pundits say second-place runner Rubio got beat up pretty good in the debate and Trump got hit pretty hard by Bush on the issue of eminent domain, while Kasich tried to appeal to moderates and Cruz stuck to his standard topics. Fiorina did not even get on the stage.
Trump stole the headlines on Monday by going on TV and upping the ante on his waterboarding braggadocio from the debate in which he said, “I would bring back waterboarding. And I would bring back a hell of a lot worse.”
On TV, Trump said, “I had in mind going worse than waterboarding. It’s enough. We have right now a country that’s under siege. It’s under siege from a people, from — we’re like living in medieval times. If I have it to do and if it’s up to me, I would absolutely bring back waterboarding. And if it’s going to be tougher than waterboarding, I would bring that back, too.”
George Stephanopoulos later asked, “Do we win by being more like them?”
To which Trump replied, “Yes. I’m sorry. You have to do it that way. And I’m not sure everybody agrees with me. I guess a lot of people don’t. We are living in a time that’s as evil as any time that there has ever been. You know, when I was a young man, I studied medieval times. That’s what they did, they chopped off heads. So we’re going …” not quite saying out loud that he would authorize beheadings when Stephanopoulos interrupted.
How will that sit with N.H. voters?
Meanwhile, here are the latest polling numbers from Real Clear Politics: