The Corner

New Hampshire Intrigue

A reader makes an all-together different kind of prediction. I’m not convinced, but it sure would make life interesting:

I grew up in NH in the People’s Republic of Hanover and I think the NH results will surprise lots of people. Lieberman’s push for the McCain independents finally appears to be paying some dividends in the poll results. Kerry may be in the mid 30 poll wise, but I have a feeling that his support is a little more squishy. Dean has 20% of the electorate ready to jump on grenades for him. He’ll get another 5% from people who contemplated Clark, but are returning to him.

My prediction is as follows

Kerry 30%

Dean 25%

Lieberman 15%

Edwards 15%

Clark 13%

Also-Rans 2%

Lieberman will go to Delaware and South Carolina

Kerry will head to SC first to get a read on the polls, he’ll then make a break for either AZ or MO if he can get Gephardt’s endorsement.

Clark will head to SC, OK and AZ

Dean will make a cameo in SC then head west to OK, NM and AZ

Edwards will go to ground in SC probably before the end of Tuesday (look for his concession speech to come from an airport in SC) and maybe move to contest MO

All have a place where they can go to claim votes. Look for a few different winners on Feb. 3. After that the press will begin drooling over the prospect of a brokered convention and will snipe at any candidate who appears to be gaining too much traction.

One item that I heard mentioned on SPECIAL REPORT that hasn’t gotten much play in the rest of the media. Dean brought in almost as much money off the internet last week as Kerry. Dean’s supporters are still energized, but his upper end support is more limited.

If the match up devolves into Dean vs. Kerry soon, I think Kerry wins. The longer it takes to get to that head to head match up the more likely that Dean ends up with more delegates because he’s got the money and organization to compete effectively on multistate primary days.

If Kerry does manage to get over 35% of the vote in NH and comes in more than 10 points higher than Dean, all bets are off. But I don’t see that happening.