In a few hours the polls will close in New Hampshire, and Donald Trump will be victorious in his first primary election of the season. Yet at the end of the day we all knew Trump would win New Hampshire as a direct result of the division between the establishment minded voters. Kasich, Christie, Rubio, and Bush have all vied for centre-right voters, with the aim of coming in a strong second, thus becoming the anointed establishment candidate to take on Trump and Cruz.
After a third place showing for Marco Rubio in Iowa, establishment Senators came out of the woodwork for Rubio, professing that Rubio could unite the party, and lead them to victory in November.
What wasn’t anticipated was the meltdown of Marco Rubio at last Saturday’s GOP debate, when Christie took him to task for having no accomplishments, and lacking executive experience.
Yet Rubio isn’t losing a significant amount of support to Christie. Rubio’s short lived bump in the polls after Iowa is faltering, yet has headed to Kasich and Bush.
Why will Kasich come in second instead of Bush?
Kasich has a positive campaign, does not viciously attack his primary opponents, and has the best ground game in the state. On top of this he is one of the most successful and popular executives in the country.
Nevertheless, do not expect Kasich to surge in South Carolina or Nevada, which are two states he will fare poorly in.
Without a doubt the most significant beneficiary of this Kasich surge in New Hampshire is Ted Cruz. If Cruz can show he is the only candidate that can beat Trump, then Trump is finished in the long run. For Rubio second place was desperately needed in New Hampshire if he was to have a prayer of coming in a strong second in South Carolina. He can now kiss that goodbye.
If I was Ted Cruz, I would want to kiss Kasich and Christie right now for stopping Rubio in his tracks.
Expect Carson to come in 8th place with 2%. Perhaps he’ll fly back to Florida to get another change of clothes before dropping out in South Carolina.