Monday, January 07, 2008

Leading Indicators in New Hampshire

I suspect everybody who reads a newspaper, listens to NPR on the way home from work, and watches the television network news - you know, your average news junkie - expects Barak Obama to win in New Hampshire. He's overtaken Hillary Clinton by double digit leads. Depending upon which poll you believe, his lead is as high as 15 points.

That's not the story I'm watching for. It's a given by now that he's the frontrunner.

The really interesting story is going to be what the Independents will do. That will affect John McCain's fortunes as well as Obama's. They are actually competing for votes because Independents can vote in either primary.

In Iowa, another open primary state (albeit a caucus rather than an actual primary) Independents broke 2 to 1 for the Democrats and chose Obama. If something like that happens in New Hampshire, it not only hurts McCain's chances, which are built on his getting the Independent vote, but it sets up some interesting expectations about how broad Obama's support will be going into the general elections.

So, the breakdown of the Independent and cross over vote may be the real story to watch here.

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