January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am
New Hampshire voting goes from 6 am to 8 pm ET today (although voting started after midnight in two small communities). As far as turnout goes, Secretary of State Bill Gardner is expecting about 325,000 Granite Staters to go to the polls, with 250,000 of them expected to vote on the Republican side and 75,000 expected to vote in a Democratic primary in which President Obama is not being contested (New Hampshire Union Leader).
The first votes were cast just after midnight in the tiny communities of Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location. In Dixville Notch, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied for the lead with two votes each. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul had one vote apiece. And in Hart’s Location, Romney took five votes, Paul took four, Huntsman got two and Perry and Gingrich each received one (“Political Ticker”).
An assault on Romney’s “business career intensified” yesterday, after the front-runner made theoff-the-cuff comment, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” The attacks over Romney’s “business background come as surveys showed his healthy lead in New Hampshire slipping.” A Suffolk University-7 News tracking poll Monday showed him falling to 33%, from 43% last week, with four other candidates — Huntsman, Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum — in a volatile race for second (Washington Post).
Romney said his comment– “I like being able to fire people” – was taken out of context, “saying that he was referring to insurance companies even as Rick Perry was distributing the audio clip to supporters as a new ring tone” (Boston Globe).
Yesterday, Huntsman told a group of volunteers that his campaign would defy expectations. “We are going to wake up Wednesday morning and we are going to see that there is a different political reality out here and all the conventional wisdom we’ve been hearing about will be upended because that’s what we do here in New Hampshire!” (USA Today).
Obama announced yesterday that he would be replacing William M. Daley as White House chief of staff with Jacob J. Lew, the budget director. The “departure jolts the top ranks of the administration less than a year before” Obama faces a difficult re-election campaign (New York Times).
According to Gallup, Romney is the now the only candidate that a majority of conservative and moderate/liberal Republicans nationwide see as an acceptable GOP nominee for president. Slightly less than half say Gingrich (46%) or Santorum (45%) would be acceptable, while a majority of Republicans say that the three remaining candidates — Perry, Paul, and Huntsman — would be unacceptable.