Real Clear Politics is showing a new trend after the Iowa Caucus, and in anticipation of the New Hampshire Caucus: Mike Huckabee and John McCain are surging nationally, while Rudy Giuliani (who is seeing his lowest numbers of the race) and Mitt Romney are free-falling. In fact, the latest polls show a three way tie for first: McCain, Rudy, Huckabee... but unfortunately for Rudy, his numbers are falling and it will not be too long before his campaign is through... At this rate, I doubt that he will make it to Super Tuesday in one piece... so it looks like his "Go Big or Go Home" approach to delegates (focusing only on the Super Tuesday states) has failed... or is in the midst of failing.
But what about taking a look at New Hampshire? How is tomorrow going to play out? The debates showed that there are four candidates in this race nationally: McCain, Huckabee, Rudy, and Romney. Thompson will likely not register in these polls, and may hold out for South Carolina... but after an embarrassing finish there, he will withdraw.
I call NH this way for the Republicans:
On the Republican side, the poor 2nd place showing will be a second blow to the already critically wounded (post Iowa) Romney Campaign. After a 2nd place finish in NH, Michigan wont much matter, and there are no other states where Romney is polling in first besides Utah (and perhaps MA, but I don't know... the last poll was from April of 2007).
Fred Thompson is not expecting anything out of NH, and only showed up in the state for the debates, then it was off to SC where he is facing a 2:1 deficit to Mike Huckabee, who leads the state. After a fourth place finish (to Huckabee, McCain, and Mitt or Rudy)... perhaps a 3rd place finish if Mitt and Rudy continue to slip, Fred will give a speech along the lines of: "Well... we gave it a good run... but it looks like it wasn't meant to be... so I will be withdrawing my campaign from the race, and endorsing John McCain"
John McCain will get a huge boost from an overwhelming win in NH. This boost will likely propel him to a 2nd or 3rd place finish in Michigan, and make him a contender (likely finishing 2nd) in SC. This will give him some momentum going into Super Tuesday. I say SOME because he will not do well in Florida, so there will be one loss just days before Super Tuesday.
Mike Huckabee's convincing 3rd place finish will reignite the huckaboom, and add to his momentum from Iowa. He will likely go on to win in Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida... giving him the big Mo' heading into Super Tuesday. This is going to be a Huckabee McCain race to the finish.
Rudy's gamble of waiting for Super Tuesday did not pay off. He will have no momentum going into Florida, and likely finish second to Huckabee. This blow will lead to a lackluster performance on Super Tuesday. Rudy will likely hold out for the National Convention, hoping to win over some delegates as Romney and Thompson drop out of the race.
Ron Paul will make his last stand in NH. This is the only state where he would have had a chance to come out on top, with the support of the Independent voters. However, a 4th place finish will leave his campaign with no momentum... plenty of cash, but no momentum. I doubt that he runs as a Libertarian, but if he did, this could put the Libertarian party on the map, giving the Green party a run for it's money as the only viable third party. This would be optimal if Bloomberg also ran as an independent. We would see a four way race, where the Democrats are hit by the Independent Bloomberg, and the Independents are hit by the Libertarians, and the Republicans are hit by losing Independent voters to some degree... It would make it the most interesting election in recent history!
On the democratic side... if Obama pulls off another upset, as I predict, the Clinton campaign will be finished. Edwards will surge into first or second as Clinton's numbers plummet. The nomination will likely go to Edwards or Obama (in that order) after Super Tuesday clears Clinton off into a third place shocker. She will likely drop out and endorse Obama, but her voters will be split between Edwards and Obama... then it is a delegate war for who can cross the threshold first.
*Note, these predictions are subject to change assuming I am completely wrong and NH goes a totally different way.