Money quote from a Clinton aide:
"We stopped the freight train."
A win for Hillary Clinton in the Democrat race:
- Hillary Clinton 39%, Barack Obama 37%, John Edwards 17%, Bill Richardson 5%.
And for John McCain in the GOP race:
- John McCain 37%, Mitt Romney 32%, Mike Huckabee 11%, Rudy Giuliani 9%, Ron Paul 8%, Fred Thompson 1%
And a big defeat for the punditocracy:
The FT blog notes how the markets got the result so incredibly wrong.
The early editions of the UK newspapers were also caught out. The Times led on the "Obama magic".
Stephan Shakespeare of YouGov reflects on the opinion polls that predicted a big Obama victory:
"My view therefore is that the media – indeed, the wider public buzz - has a stronger influence on polls than it has on actual behaviour. You will tend to see a ‘mean reversion’ (that is, a return to norms) as the froth settles down, and potentially a strong anti-reaction when reality hits, itself creating new froth..."
OUR CANDIDATE-BY-CANDIDATE GUIDE TO WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT...
FIRST THE DEMOCRATS...
Hillary Clinton: She probably won because of (a) the Clinton get-out-the-vote machine, (b) that tearful, humanising moment 36 hours ago and (c) a New Hampshire voter reaction to the "inevitability" of an Obama victory.
John Edwards: Time to step down? It's looking more and more like a two horse race.
Barack Obama: His campaign team told the media that they'd win New Hampshire. Team Clinton will use that failure to underline their general critique that Team Obama is not ready for prime time and will be destroyed by the Republican machine in the General Election. Leading Obama cheerleader Andrew Sullivan sees growth opportunities in all of this:
"Part of me is happy to see two candidates forced to battle it out in a long slog. We find out more that way. They grow more. More people get a say. That's a good thing. And I should say that although I remain a passionate Obama supporter among the Democrats, I also feel little compunction in recognizing that Clinton did have something of a personal breakthrough in the last few days. The brittle exterior cracked. What was beneath is more human and less calculated. She was forced to explain from the heart why she really wants to win. People responded. As they would."
The New York Times Caucus blog asks if race was a factor: "Tim Russert on MSNBC is reporting that the Clinton internal polls showed Mr. Obama winning by 14 points and Mr. Obama’s had him winning by 11 percent. This may lead to speculation that in a secret ballot, white voters will not vote for an African American." James Forsyth thinks that's too easy an explanation for those who got their predictions so wrong.
Best headline summary: "Dated Obama, married Hillary" - The Economist
AND THE REPUBLICANS...
Mike Huckabee: Richard Lowry asks the key question for Iowa's victor: "It will be interesting to see how a Huckabee-McCain fight will play out in South Carolina. Will Huckabee—despite being so outraged by attacks on McCain recently—go after him hard? Or will we begin to see the outlines of a McCain-Huckabee deal to put Huck on the ticket as VP? There are worse things than being in the second slot on a ticket where the top guy is 71-years old."
John McCain. Now favourite to win the GOP nomination. Watch his victory speech.
Ron Paul: Still no sign that the electronic enthusiasm is converting into electoral support. The Paulites had hoped to do better in "live free or die" New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney: Widely disliked (noted Fred Barnes), Governor Romney's last chance is in Michigan - the state which his father used to represent. That's the father who attended the Martin Luther King rally - or perhaps not.
And, in conclusion, Mark Steyn thinks that everyone lost: "Romney lost, because he came second, which is starting to look like a pattern; McCain lost, because his margin over Romney is, as noted below, underwhelming enough to get his comeback written off as little more than a local phenomenon; Huckabee lost, because a distant third with no evidence of an Iowa bounce makes his caucus victory seem ancient history; Giuliani lost, because he barely beat Ron Paul; Paul lost, because he couldn't even beat Giuliani; Thompson lost, because he's a big-time Hollywood guy with a hot primetime TV show and, even if he were totally incompetent, that ought to be worth more than one per cent."