New Hampshire Numbers

On the eve of the primary, polls show the trend lines in both parties.

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Clearly, the numbers in the Republican and Democratic races in New Hampshire are different from what we had become used to over many months. Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton are now trailing John McCain and Barack Obama. When did the lines switch? I took the average of multiple polls in the above-referenced realclearpolitics.com compilations and came up with the following:

Republican Timing McCain Romney Huckabee Giuliani Paul Thompson
1/4-1/6 34 29 12 9 8 3
Christmas-Iowa 31 27 11 10 7 2
Earlier in December 21 32 10 16 7 3
November 16 33 8 19 6 4

The numbers over Christmas, when no one was polling, changed sharply. McCain went up 10 points, Romney went down 5, and Giuliani fell 6. Why? Conversations over the extended-family Christmas dinner table? Probably no one will ever know. Note that there was no significant Huckabee bounce out of Iowa—and no negative bounce for Romney.

Democrats' Timing Obama Clinton Edwards
1/4-1/6 37 9 19
Christmas-Iowa 26 35 17
Earlier in December 28 32 16
November 23 35 15

Here the big change was an Obama bounce out of Iowa. Clinton's numbers were actually a little better after Christmas than before, Obama's a little worse. I don't take Edwards's slight rise to be of any significance; he seems to be clearly in third place in New Hampshire, and that's not a ticket to anywhere. I suppose he'll make an effort in Nevada (where he hopes for union-member support) and in South Carolina (where he grew up). But about half the voters in South Carolina will be black, and previous South Carolina surveys have shown him winning just about 0 percent support from blacks.