But, here's what I think may have happened....
40% of the voters in NH are registered as independent (undeclared). These voters can vote in either the Republican or Democrat primary. I think these voters listened to all the polls on Tuesday and assumed the Republican race would be the close one and that they would be wasting their vote on the Democrat side, so they decided to vote for McCain instead of Obama. This was good for McCain and Hillary, but bad for Obama and Romney. It shouldn't have been a surprise, however, that McCain did well among independents, because the very things that upsets Republicans about McCain, are the things that make independents feel that McCain is an "independent" type of politician.
McCain has upset Republicans on several occasions, including McCain-Feingold, his vote against the Bush tax cuts, his support for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, and so on. This has made him unpopular with many Republicans, but popular with independents. (If you're not familiar with McCain, I'd encourage you to read about him on Wikipedia.)
Where does this leave Romney? Here are some things to consider:
- Romney won Wyoming, and came in second in Iowa and New Hampshire.
- McCain had an edge in NH, because he left Iowa to go work on NH. However, while McCain only won 7 delegates in NH, because Romney choose to run in Iowa, Romney won 12 delegates in Iowa by taking second place! (NH only has 12 delegate slots, after having been penalized for moving their primary up.)
- Romney has more delegates than any other Republican candidate. (See image below.)
- In the first three state races, Romney has...
- beaten McCain 2 out of 3 times
- beaten Huckabee 2 out of 3 times
- beaten Rudy 3 out of 3 times
- beaten Thompson 3 out of 3 times
- beaten Ron Paul and all others 3 out of 3 times.
- Romney is the only candidate who has beaten EVERY OTHER candidate AT LEAST TWO out of THREE times.
- Romney raised more money than any of the Republican candidates and has the resources to continue fighting.
Thompson could actually do well in South Carolina. This means, by the time we get to Florida, there could still be FIVE contenders: Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, and Rudy.
Lots can happen between now and then. For example, the stock market is taking a beating. People should be looking for someone who understands economic growth to help our economy, that's Romney. How the rest of the country will respond to the bible-thumping tv-evangelistic Huckabee, or the 71-year-old, life-time politician, McCain, has yet to be determined.
PS: If you watched McCain's victory speech, it was quite unimpressive. HE READ IT!!! (And even at that, he stumbled at times.) Go look at the inpromptued remarks by Romney after the results were announced, and then go look at McCain's victory speech. If Obama gets the nomination from the Democrats, he'll eat McCain's lunch on the stump. Note to McCain: Don't READ your victory speech!!! Anyone can READ a well-written speech by who-knows-who, but to win on the stump in the national election, you better know how to inspire people, not just read to them.