Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won Tuesday 10 January 2012 the New Hampshire primary as everyone expected he would and thus strengthened his position as the Republican party's front runner in the battle for presidential nomination. Romney even became the first GOP candidate except for sitting presidents to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
Romney won 39,3% of the votes, while Ron Paul came second with 23,8% (cf. Real Clear Politics). In my last comment on the GOP campaign I suggested that Romney would get 45% of the votes, but that was obviously a bit too optimistic on his behalf. When Monticello Society yesterday invited its readers to forecast the top three, I adjusted my estimate to 38%, which wasn't too bad, but as so many of the others who responded to Monticello's challenge, I underestimated the libertarian Ron Paul's popularity. Jon Huntsman only got 16,9% of the votes and thus became third, Newt Gingrich and Rich Santorum got 9,4% each, while Rick Perry only collected 0,7% of the votes. According to 2012newhampshireprimary.com, Romney then got 5 delegates, Paul 3 and Huntsman 2 (according to Wikipedia - for whatever it is worth - Romney won 7 delegates, which seems more plausible).
Next one out is South Carolina on 21 January, and Gingrich, Santorum and Perry need to do really well in order to not to be left too far behind Romney. The latest polls published at Real Clear Politics (dated before the NH primary) suggest that Romney has a solid grip on the campaign in South Carolina as well. I guess it doesn't hurt his chances that he has already been endorsed by Governor Nikki Haley, who is one of several candidates mentioned for the vice precident nomination.
What a battle we will witness in the forthcoming days!