Live-blogging the New Hampshire primary results

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New Hampshire voters head to the polls until 8 p.m. ET to pick their candidates for president. Check back here for live-blogging and updates throughout the night.

8:04 p.m. – Based on exit polling, the TV networks declared Mitt Romney the winner of the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire.

Ron Paul will finish a strong second and Jon Huntsman a more distant third.

Exit poll results: Romney 36%, Paul 23%, Huntsman 18%, Santorum 10%, Gingrich 10% and Perry 1%.

8:01 p.m. – NBC News declares Mitt Romney the winner of the New Hampshire primary.

7:56 p.m. – Results: Romney 36%, Paul 25%, Huntsman 16%, Gingrich 11%, Santorum 10% with 8.6% in.

7:24 p.m. – Very early results coming in from New Hampshire — Mitt Romney is out to an early lead.

7:21 p.m. – @thefix: Debates matter. 8 in 10 NH GOP primary voters say debates were impt in their vote, half say they were “very” impt.

6:50 p.m. – Washington and Lee University’s “Mock Republican Convention” envisions Mr. Romney winning with between 38 and 42 percent of the vote. It predicts Mr. Paul will be the runner-up (18 to 24 percent) and Jon Huntsman will land in third (12 to 16 percent).

6:44 p.m. – A few things to keep in mind as we await the results.

6:39 p.m. – The New Hampshire Union Leader‘s Garry Rayno predicts Mr. Romney to garner 40 percent tonight. He sees Mr. Paul in second, then Rick Santorum.

6:22 p.m. – Nate Silver’s final projections look good for Romney.

6:19 p.m. – Just tweeted: Prelim NH exit polls: Nearly half of voters identify as independents, more than in ‘08, ‘00 or ‘96 #GOP primaries.

6:13 p.m. – John Cassidy: “For his campaign to take a real hit, I think his share of the vote would have to fall well below thirty-five per cent, and his lead would have to fall to ten points, or less. Even then, that might not be too big a problem if Paul were to be the second place finisher — Paul isn’t a serious threat for the nomination. What would be truly calamitous for Romney would be for his vote share to drop below thirty per cent and for Huntsman to come in second place, with, say, twenty one per cent of the vote.”

6:12 p.m. – John Heilemann says that if Mitt Romney “finishes with less than 31 percent and/or a mere single-digit win, it will be interpreted as a clear disappointment, maybe even as a kind of defeat. Any result that falls in between those poles will be read more ambiguously, though my sense of the over-under at this point is a double-digit win with 36 percent — a five-point improvement on 2008.”

6:09 p.m. – Here’s where all the candidates are spending their primary night.

6:07 p.m. – Three things to watch: 1. Will Mitt Romney get more than the 32% of the vote he won four years ago? The expectations game may hinge on that number. 2. Who finishes second? If the polls are correct, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman are waging a close fight for runner up. 3. Will a fifth place finish end either Newt Gingrich’s or Rick Santorum’s campaign?

6:05 p.m. – First Read: “The New Hampshire primary is a ‘semi-open’ primary, meaning that voters without a declared party can vote in either primary, but registered Democrats and Republicans must vote in their own party’s contest. Independents account for about 40% of New Hampshire voters, and due to the fact that there is essentially no real contest on the Democrats’ side, independents could play a large role in the Republican primary.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.