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New Hampshire: The Politics Of Second Place




Voters are casting their ballots in early-voting New Hampshire today … and as odd as it sounds, everyone is watching the race to see who finishes in second place.

That’s right …

According to the final aggregate Granite State polling from RealClearPolitics, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has the backing of 31.2 percent of likely “First in the North” voters (even though the state’s political establishment is 100 percent against him).

No one else is polling within fifteen percentage points of him …

That leaves a four-way battle for second place that includes U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (14 percent), Ohio governor John Kasich (13.5 percent), U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (11.8 percent) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush (11.5 percent).

In fact for the past three weeks, all four of these candidates have been within seven percentage points of each other … which has made for some furious jousting (especially considering three of the four are battling each other in an effort to become the top choice of the “Republican” establishment).

Make no mistake: How these three status quo “Republicans” – Rubio, Kasich and Bush – fare in New Hampshire will go a long way toward shaping the rest of the GOP nominating fight.

A second place finish by any one of these candidates – particularly a silver medal which exceeded expectations numerically (i.e. above twenty percent) – would position them very well moving forward.  Conversely a fifth-place finish – especially one in single digits – could spell the end of the road for the underperforming campaign.

Jeb Bush, in particular, desperately needs to put up a solid number in New Hampshire – even as his advisors vow that he will remain in the race no matter what happens in the Granite State.

So … who will get the second place New Hampshire “bump?”   And who will fall into a fifth-place free fall?

We’ll find out soon …