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‘Election Connection’: The comeback kids

Mac is Back! Comeback Kid! Those two chants were heard within the span of three hours on Tuesday night, as two political veterans took the stage and had looks on their faces as though they were the outsiders, the newcomers that had gotten the surprise win. It was quite the opposite.

Despite the omnipresent mentionings of change and youth by the candidates and media, the new and different candidates did not win. What was Iowa was not New Hampshire, and Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton were grateful.

The question many analysts were asking at the stroke of midnight Tuesday was: how did the winners do it?

Senator Hillary Clinton was seen trailing by 9 points in a Monday poll and by as many as 10 points in a Sunday poll. But then came in the margin of error: she’s asked in a debate about how voters like Barack Obama better, and answered to a huge round of applause, that hurts my feelings; her teary-eyed moment when asked how she was holding up; Bill Clinton’s fairy tale comments about the Obama campaign; the ex-president’s last-second campaigning in Obama territory. How did these issues factor into how wrong the polls ended up being?

For Senator John McCain, he was favored in most polls, and he in the end matched that expectation. Yet still, after a loss in Iowa, he needed a New Hampshire win to stay viable. New Hampshire for McCain can be seen as a tempered win — a win he hoped to repeat in home turf where he won in 2000; but also the win that never led to a party nomination.

One reason he may have won New Hampshire is that voters valued leadership. CNN exit polls show McCain was the clear choice of those who cared about a candidate who could be the best commander in chief, and the strongest leader. At the same time though, McCain voters checked the have reservations box more than any other group in our exit poll.

But there we go again, more polls.

So Michigan is next, and the field appears to be open for a frontrunner more than ever. Surrounded by his ever-present, youthful supporters last night, Ron Paul looked like he was not going to withdraw. Fred Thompson was already thinking of the next state. John Edwards repeated his mantra of going all the way to the convention and to the White House regardless of how future state votes go. The field narrowed after Iowa by two. New Hampshire has not had that immediate effect yet, but as has been said, there is a long way to go.

So let us know what you think about New Hampshire and the Presidential race. In the Sound-Off section below, tell us what you think happened last night, and what it means for your choice and your candidate.

Why were the polls so wrong and how do polls help or hurt the process? Was it the women voters, the Independents, or the message of change? And what issues need to be discussed more by the candidates? Or are the personal qualities of the candidates more important than the issues? And while you’re at it, what do you think of the wins by John McCain and Hillary Clinton: big deal or not?

We’ll be reading your responses on Morning Express with Robin Meade this morning, and we know your thoughts will be good ones! E-mail to a friend


found here.

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January 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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