The New Hampshire polls are closed and the results are being tabulated. As of 8:39 pm CST, John McCain (36.8%) is the clear winner in the Republican primary over Mitt Romney (31.2%) and Mike Huckabee (11.6%) according to the Associated Press. McCain’s survival was at stake today as he is essentially out of funds and hopes this win will bring in new contributors and keep his hopes alive. The press is saying Romney is near out of it now that this is his second, second-place showing in a row. I don’t think this is true as no clear candidate has emerged for the Republicans and Romney has plenty of money left. This muddled field also helps Guiliani as the January 29 Florida primary nears. Huckabee drew on many evangelical voters in Iowa, however, New Hampshire is not the same demographic as Iowa. I believe Huckabee is going to slide into second and then third as the Florida primary approaches.

As in Iowa, turnout appears to be heavy, assisted by the unseasonably warm 61 degree weather as recorded in Manchester, New Hampshire. Voters were energized by ‘change’, which by now all the candidates are espousing. Next stop in Michigan on January 15 and Nevada on January 19. Clinton has a strong lead over Obama in early polling in these states. I think Obama needed to win today. Clinton will assume her attack campaign worked and will probably, unfortunately, keep it up or even intensify it.

Though not all votes have been processed it appears that Hillary Clinton (39.5%) may squeek out an unexpected victory over Barak Obama (36.1%); unexpected as the polls earlier in the day indicated Obama leading by 11%. The key to the upset is the number of independent voters along with the warm weather, which encouraged older voters to get out and vote, helping Clinton. John Edwards (16.8%) viability going forward is going to be a question as he has funding problems too. Still it’s technically too close to call.

Bill Richardson is coming in at 4.5%, probably not good enough for him to continue. Obama & Edwards did not campaign in Michigan in accordance with Democratic party rulings to penalize Michigan for defiantly moving their primary date up to January. In summary, I think the results today has narrowed the field on the Democratic side to just two, and created even more uncertainty on the Republican side. McCain is running a lean organization and is low on funds, Romney has lost his early luster amid questions concerning his religion, fair or not; Huckabee appears to appeal mainly to the Christian right and Guiliani is gambling that no one will notice him absent until the Florida primary on January 29.