Will Mitt Romney win New Hampshire? Almost certainly:
Although Hillary Rodham Clinton’s defeat of Barack Obama in the 2008 New Hampshire primary was an incredible story … it would not be in the same ballpark as Ron Paul or another candidate upsetting Mr. Romney. Had we run our forecast model on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008, it would have put Mrs. Clinton 8.7 points behind Mr. Obama based on the polling at that time and given her a 10 percent chance of defeating him.
By contrast, Mr. Romney’s lead over his nearest competitor, Ron Paul, is 22.6 percentage points based on polling through Saturday morning — more than twice as large as Mr. Obama’s. That’s why our forecast model gives Mr. Romney just a 1 percent chance of losing.
But winning New Hampshire by an underwhelming margin would be perceived as a defeat. My test will be 30 percent. If he gets that, it’s a win. But if either Huntsman or Paul get into the 20s, not a very convincing one.