I think I understand how McCain won. I think that NH voters want someone who will talk to them, answer questions, show emotion, and even disagree with people. That is just the way things work here. McCain does that. I have seen him in action and his style is a perfect fit for picky New Hampshire voters.
Romney is just too button downed, too establishment and too smooth. I haven’t been to a Romney event (shame on me) but he doesn’t come across as a "regular guy" like McCain does. Huckabee is too religious for secular New Hampshire. I don’t think he spent the time in state that is really required to win in this state. Paul was the Internet darling and I think his message appeals to a lot of old New Hampshire (old in terms of not being recent immigrants from other states) but that is not enough. Giuliani never "clicked" with NH voters and I think he gave up here early to focus on other states.
So no surprises for me on the Republican side. Now the Democratic side I just don’t understand as well. I have to confess that I don’t understand Democrats. That someone who claims to be caring for the downtrodden and under represented could support abortion just never made sense to me. If anyone should be pro-life it should be the Democratic party. And by the same token someone who says they are "pro-choice" should oppose most gun control just to be consistent if nothing else. And shouldn’t the Democrats have been the ones calling for us to "free" Iraq? Well all that is besides the issue.
I expected Edwards to do better in NH. He campaigns the way you are supposed to campaign in New Hampshire. I loved his message as well. To me it reached from the left to the center. Obama lacks experience. So really does Clinton. This "35 years of experience making change" is such a ridiculous statement that I don’t understand why people don’t break out into laughter when ever she says it. Perhaps people are just stunned into silence? And Clinton and Obama are both (as I see it) very much to the left and NH is not a far left state. Although I suppose that the migration from Massachusetts has been changing that. That is not a change for the better in my opinion.
And Clinton just comes across (to me) as nasty. Obama is a wonderful speaker but few people seem to be looking much past his rhetoric to his actual experience and platform. That will not be enough for the general election. Electability may have come to a lot of people in the last days.
I think the emotional scene Clinton had the other day helped her a lot. I think that most of the time she comes of as unemotional and to calculating. That video showed her as very passionate. I think voters are looking for passion. They see it in Obama but this is the first they really saw it in Clinton. Seeing that probably turned a lot of undecided people her way.
I’m not surprised that the polls got it wrong BTW. Things move fast in New Hampshire and I think the polls under counted the Independents. I’m actually very please that we "fooled" the polls. The media spends much too much time talking about polls. They should be talking about issues and poking holes in distortions in candidate statements and not pretending the race is a sporting event.