The late William F. Buckley, founder of the conservative-leaning political magazine National Review had some very practical advice when it came to the Republican primaries: vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. Add to that little piece of advice this oft-repeated maxim: “Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.” (popularized by Bill Clinton). Toss those two together and what do you get? New Hampshire Primary results… at least according to the exit polls! Let’s dig in…
Don’t worry, I’ll probably only do this through the South Carolina primaries… then it’s onto other topics (as interesting as exit polls can be!).
2012 New Hampshire Primary: Vote By Age
12% of voters fell into the 18-29 bracket, 19% into the 30-44, 48% into the 45-65 and 21% into the 65 and older.
Check out the mirror images – support for Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were basically reversed, with Paul taking the younger crew, and less as voters got older. This is huge, as Paul holds the cards to the younger voters (and, coincidentally, Independent-minded voters) which the eventual nominee would love to have in a general election. I, like Major Garrett, see big things in the near future if Paul continues to sew up more delegates. Jon Huntsman, Jr. also did well with the older crowd, but couldn’t stop the Romney juggernaut.
2012 New Hampshire Primary: Vote By Income
The data in the exit poll is broken down into income brackets of $30,000 and less, $30,000 – $50,000, $50,000 – $100,000, $100,000 – $200,000 and $200,000 and more. The electorate fit those brackets as 11%, 15%, 37%, 27% and 10%, respectively.
There it is once more! You can see another mirror image in the Ron Paul and the Romney vote. Again, Romney won all the income brackets but the smallest one, but the trend is evident… voters who made less prefer Paul more. Interesting stuff!
2012 New Hampshire Primary: Vote By Candidate Quality
We saved the best for last (so now you can really see what I was talking about in the introduction). Here you’ll see how the votes turned out when asked to choose the top ‘candidate quality’ they were seeking. There were four categories: ‘Can Defeat Obama’ (35%), ‘True Conservative’ (13%), ‘Strong Moral Character’ (22%), ‘Right Experience’ (26%). So, basically, voters were asked what their number one priority was, then who their choice was… and the results are strong for both Paul and Romney.
It’s coming up Romney for the two “practical” categories… but when it comes to fundamentals, Paul takes the cake with the large pluralities (41% in ‘True Conservative’ and 40% in ‘Strong Moral Character’). Remember, Bill Clinton beat the elder George Bush with 42% of the vote in what was essentially a three-man race.
On Third Party Runs and Convention Speeches…
Ron Paul holds a potential trump card: the (unlikely) threat of a third party run. However, in his current position as a top tier candidate he has the potential to gain a massive amount of influence just by staying in the race. Remember how the long debates between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dragged out and the vitriol between the two (“You’re likable enough, Hillary”) ? Yeah… she’s now the Secretary of State and the most popular national political figure. Pretty good runner-up prize.
So, assuming a Romney victory, Paul will get to help set platform messaging and will likely be rewarded with a prime time convention speech. Notice he’s turned the big guns on Gingrich (in Iowa) and Santorum (immediately after)… yet remains holstered when discussing Romney. Watch this dynamic closely… if you see those guys complementing each other (see what I did there?), you’ll know the dynamics. You Ron Paul fans out there perhaps might like this Dark Knight quote from Lt. Gordon: “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.” Apply that as you see fit!
What do you think? Is Mitt Romney going to be carrying water for Ron Paul at the Republican Convention? See anything interesting in the results posted? Do you have any theories on the current dynamics of the race?