For the second time this election season we have delegate updates. This time of course from New Hampshire. As before, I am going to concentrate here on the graph above, which is the percent of the outstanding delegates the candidate needs to get in order to wrap up the nomination. For more common charts, like total delegates and the like, go to my full 2012 Republican Delegate Count Graphs page.
For this chart, remember that DOWN is better. When a candidate gets down to zero, they have wrapped up the nomination. If they go up past 100 then they have been mathematically eliminated from winning absent delegates changing their votes. Basically, you can look at this as measuring how close they are to winning. The lower the line, the closer they are to winning.
Bottom line here is that only one candidate actually improved their overall position based on the results in New Hampshire. That candidate is of course Romney. As you can see above, his percentage needed dropped slightly. This means the bar he needs to pass in all future contests was just LOWERED a bit, so his road to the nomination is easier. Everybody else in the race, even some others who increased the percentage of delegates they have, didn’t get ENOUGH… so their road to the nomination gets harder after this, not easier.
Of course this lines up nicely with the dominant narrative at this point. This was a big success for Romney, everybody else muddles along. The standard narrative is moving rapidly toward inevitability though. This is of course based on momentum and how spin following each contest effects the next elections, etc. From a pure delegate count point of view though, we just are not there yet. Only 1.6% of the available delegates have been awarded at this point… and that is only if you count provisional estimates of delegates from Iowa (they haven’t REALLY been allocated yet). The candidates are still close enough together in delegate count, and there are still so many delegates yet to allocate, that *if* the kind of volatility in support that happened during the pre-primary season were to continue, with either Romney collapsing, or another candidate having a “surge”, or if the dynamics start to shift as candidates drop out, there is still plenty of room for non-Romneys to make a move here.
Having said that, honestly, it does still look like Romney is going to quickly run away with this unless something happens to change the dynamics of the race VERY SOON. We just can’t actually say that from the numbers yet. Right now (estimates via The Green Papers) we have Romney with 13 delegates, followed by Paul 9, Santorum 6, Gingrich 4, Perry 3 and Huntsman 2. With 2249 more delegates yet to be determined. So a long way to go yet.
Given however that as of today for the first time, we actually have a delegate leader in the Republican campaign, I’ve started to put together my General Election Electoral College models based on state by state polling assuming we are going to end up with Obama vs Romney. Look for those to debut here before the end of the month.