I've spent a week in New Hampshire now, so I have no excuses for not calling this election right. Below, my predictions and explanation why.
1. Barack Obama (42 percent)
Obama failed to blow me away at either speech I saw. I started to sense that he was blowing it, that he was becoming cautious and question-shy and arrogant (showing up 90 minutes late for one event) and not capitalizing on his momentum. And then I saw Hillary's smaller crowds and far nastier speeches and realized that Obama was putting together a second historic win.
2. Hillary Clinton (32 percent)
Someones you do man on the street interviews and find people befuddled when you ask about the hot political story of the day. That's not the case with Hillary's tears: People in bars and outside polling booths mention it unbidden. There's a lot less sympathy than there is eye-rolling, and the first person I talked to who said it made her like Hillary more was a Republican who'd already absentee'd for McCain. When I've spotted Clinton hacks like Lanny Davis and Terry McAuliffe, they've looked weathered and pissed off.
3. John Edwards (19 percent)
He's running a far stronger race than 2004, when he tied Wesley Clark for third place. Big crowds of lower-income Democrats and anti-corporate voters who don't quite trust the frontrunners.
4. Bill Richardson (5 percent)
Just hasn't broken through, and a lot of his vote bled to Obama.
5. Kucinich (1 percent)
6. Gravel (0.5 percent)
7. Write-ins (0.5 percent)
Similiar thing happening here: Anti-war, outsider Democrats see Obama and Edwards as acceptable, credible candidates. Also, Mike Gravel failed to attend the only campaign event I stopped by.
1. John McCain (34 percent)
He surged and surged for weeks and plateaued over the weekend. Huge, worshipful crowds, tons of independents saying they'll vote for him, and he's doing better with Republicans than he did eight years ago. Amnesty is basically forgiven, since Romney and the rest never convinced people they were more credible on immigration.
2. Mitt Romney (28 percent)
He's got a great GOTV operation and a really bored base. Earlier today he was already spinning a second place finish by saying, truthfully, that he'll have the most delegates after today, and that Michigan is next week. If it's a couple points closer he'll claim some kind of victory, and if it's a blowout he'll keep running anyway, because he's already blown millions.
3. Mike Huckabee (13 percent)
Before Iowa I think he would have come fourth or fifth with single digit support, but he got a burst of attention after that win. His crowds were about as big as Edwards' crowds; plenty of Republicans who don't like the mudslinging frontrunners have decided to give him their protest vote.
4. Ron Paul (12 percent)
With the right luck and enough college kids resisting Obamania he could come third, but I think he's going to fall a little short. It's really important to the Paul people that they defeat Rudy again, though.
5. Rudy Giuliani (9 percent)
Total meltdown. Everyone's making fun of his ridiculous TV ads and notices that his polls started dropping when they went on the air.
6. Fred Thompson (2 percent)
He's not even in New Hampshire tonight.
7. Duncan Hunter (1 percent)
8. Others (1 percent)
Go Vermin Supreme!
Put your own calls in the thread. I'll be in Concord tonight at the Ron Paul party.
UPDATE, 10:45: I ran around banking interviews for a post I'll put up later (and an article for tomorrow a.m.) but, uh, wow. If you trust the RealClearPolitics averages, the polls were dead-on in the GOP race and 10 points off in the Democratic race. Polls aren't just 10 percent off. Something changed in the final day—maybe the crying shored up the female vote, maybe a final day of "Obama's so gonna win this shit" headlines moved independents out of the Dem primary, maybe the lackluster Obama rallies I saw were the norm and everyone was too swept up to notice.
As to the GOP race, quick post coming in a bit.