The New Hampshire primary is in the books, and pundits are poring over the results for insight. Here's what they're saying:
- "Expectations, schmexpectations: (Mitt) Romney had a great night," writes Nate Silver of the New York Times. Romney missed his poll numbers, but was swiftly declared winner, "a more tangible benchmark of a 'good' performance."
- No conservative alternative emerged: More importantly, neither Newt Gingrich nor Rick Santorum emerged from the scrum. InTrade actually now has Gingrich ahead of Santorum, but the former speaker expended more resources here for another fourth-place finish.
- Electability ruled the day: Exit polls show that Romney was the overwhelming pragmatist pick, taking a whopping 62% of the vote among people who rated electability as their top criteria, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post points out. Romney also did surprisingly well among Tea Partiers, and even beat Santorum among evangelicals.
- Ron Paul scored: Paul's silver medal cements him as someone the GOP can't just ignore, Politico writes; fealty will have to be paid at the convention. Paul walloped everyone else among young and first-time voters, which could have implications for the GOP's future.
- Jon Huntsman lives to fight another day: Huntsman's surge proved real enough to justify staying in the race, even if he has no clear path to the nomination, and precious little money.
- Rick Perry paid dearly: It's unclear how much Perry spent in New Hampshire, but Politico's sources say it was substantial enough that his price-per-vote will wind up being staggering. Perry got 1,322 votes, or 0.73%.
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