Who Won the New Hampshire Republican Debate?


It depends on how you score. Rick-Santorum

I see three scoring scenarios:

  1. Best conservative performance
  2. Best electability performance
  3. Best positional performance

Conservative performance is pretty clear: whose answers appeal to conservatives?  (Does not mean conservatives believed the candidate meant what he said.) This is not Tea Party scoring, either. I’m not limiting my evaluation to the 3 core Tea Party principles of Constitutionally limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility.  This is broader conservatism.

Electability performance means the candidate appealed to general election voters. This doesn’t meant centrist—it means not scaring the crap out of people who aren’t politics wonks. (That’s most voters, by the way.)

Positional performance means the candidate did what what he had to do based one his current standings in he nomination process.

On conservative performance, I have to go with:

  1. Santorum
  2. Perry
  3. Gingrich / Romney


  1. Santorum
  2. Gingrich
  3. Romney


  1. Romney
  2. Santorum
  3. Gingrich

If we give 3 points for first place, 2 for second, and 1 for third, we get this composite ranking:

  1. Santorum: 8 points
  2. Gingrich:  6 points
  3. Romney:  5 points

What does it all mean? 

Santorum should move up a bit in the polls before the New Hampshire primary, but not enough to win.  He needed Romney to finish out of the top 3 in this debate. 

Gingrich needed to pull Romney out of the top 3 and get closer to Santorum than he did.  This hurt Newt.

Romney improved his chances, but he didn’t close the deal.  The longer he lets Santorum and Gingrich stay in the game, the more vulnerable his lead becomes.


22 thoughts on “Who Won the New Hampshire Republican Debate?”

    1. Actually, on that measure, Huntsman did better.

      Remember, Santorum accused Dr. Paul of knowingly making false statements, and Paul made no attempt to deny or explain those statements. That’s damning to most voters.

  1. I understand your passion. I am Interpreting the views of traditional conservatives who are not committed to a candidate. That runs the gamut from libertarian conservatives (William Buckley) to social conservatives (Pat Robertson) to fiscal conservatives (Thomas Sowell) to Constitutionalists. The nominee, to defeat Obsma, needs all of those groups to work passionately.
    I don’t believe Paul or Romney or Huntsman can garner sufficient passion among 3 out of 4 of these groups.

  2. Here is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that “most” Tea Party organizers, spokespersons and “leaders” are sold out, neocons that are in bed with the GOP establishment. They have co-opted, railroaded or highjcked the MAJORITY of the movement and they did it from DAY ONE! THIS is EXACTLY why I no longer ASSociate with these organizations or call my self a “Tea Partier.” Don’y take my word for it. Do some research on your own. All across this country there is one example after another just like this and virtually all “Tea Party Republicans” elected have been nothing “butt” RINO’s!

    1. Brick,

      To whom have I sold out?

      I’m analyzing what really happened based on how people really vote. I’m not saying who *should* win or lose the nomination.

      People who are passionate about a candidate tend to view the world as if * everyone* is equally passionate. Doing so creates a filter bubble that insulates the passionate from the larger community. Then those insulated few feel victimized when the larger community ignores them.

      Most voters, Brick, are not like you. Nor or they like me. For our views to prevail, we have two choices:

      a) we can persuade a majority to agree with us, or
      b) we can use force, violence, or coercion.

      If you think I’ve sold out to the Establishment, you don’t pay much attention to St. Louis politics.

      1. You may think, or want to paint the picture for any fool that will swallow your koolaid that may be reading this, that I don’t pay much attention to “St. Louis politics,” but again, you’re either cluless or flat out lying…. again! Maybe you have a selective memory? I’ve been to ALL the Tea Parties and several “gatherings” and spoken to most all of you guys. I was part naive and part new in the beginning. But it didn’t take long to figure out the direction the St. Louis Tea Party was going and is still going… and it sure aint “south!”  

  3. Troubleshooter,

    Are you saying that you believe Ron Paul increased his chances of winning the GOP nomination last night? Are you saying you wish most Republican primary voters and caucus-goers agreed with you.

    Attacking people who give honest assessments of the world is no way to influence people and win elections.

    Once again, this post is not an endorsement; it’s an observation from a lifelong conservative who communicates with a lot of lifelong conservatives. I know how these people vote and what turns them on.

    1. Honest my ass! I’m not going to repeat myself Bill! Your pathetic assessment and the comments thus far on this speak for themselves. You’re a fake! I know it and you know it and that’s why I stopped associating with all of you over nearly two years ago when you brought RINO Blunt out on stage and endorsed him left and right for the entire year leading up to the primaries and the only time any of you would even mention Pergusons name was to marginalize and disqualify him EXACTLY like you do Ron Paul. You’re part of the indoctrinating machine and you know damn good and well you are. Will you admit it? Hell no! Ha!

  4. If the question is who won the Debate?  And you say Rick Santorum was the clear winner!  My question is what Debate were you watching ???   Santorum failed to do what he had to do to gain anything towards upward movement.  If he finishes third in the Primary Tuesday he will be lucky.  In short he lost the debate and the Momentum .  In not a supporter of Romey or Hunstman, but they both came away with more interest than they came with.  Hunstman was going great until his closing remarks.  Newt was confused which national championship was being played, but was at his best before that.  Rick Perry needs to stay away from the shooting range and concentrate more on the domestic affairs of the other 49 States.  Perry did promote the ‘Right to Work’ in NH  which no one else thought was necessary for a state primary. 

    1. Let me repeat my final paragraph: 

      “Romney improved his chances, but he didn’t close the deal.  The longer he lets Santorum and Gingrich stay in the game, the more vulnerable his lead becomes.”

      With the largest swath of voters in GOP primaries (not JUST New Hampshire and SC), yes, I think Santorum did best.  

      I’m not talking about whose answers I liked the most.  I’m talking about the language and demeanor that tends to appeal to a broad group of likely GOP voters.  There’s a difference. 

  5. Wow, the Republican circus continues. Is the handful left our best? The Ron Paul supporters will split the vote and we’ll have four more years of the “Anointed One”.. . and we did it to ourselves.

    1. The “circus” indeed. It appears there are Liberals in the mix who must resort to personal attacks since they apparently have few if any facts. That’s pretty typical. I summarily dismiss their rants.

  6. Toubleshooter, why so hostile? The Post is just an opinion from Bill as to who he thought won the debate and asking for other’s opinions. For the most part I do not put to much credence on debates, because the pundits said George W. Bush lost his debates, but still ended up being President.  I prefer to find out through credible sources the positions of the different candidates. I have problems with all of the candidates, but reluctantly am leaning towards Perry. As to the prior election, I supported Chuck Pergason, until he lost the primary and then voted for Blunt, because he was better than Robin Carnahan and hoped he would vote the right way when in office. Unfortunately, Blunt has been on the wrong side of many issues. I do not recall the St. Louis Tea Party endorse Roy Blunt, though. The STLTP only endorsed Ed Martin. This country elected some Conservatives in the 2010 election and we need to continue to do so. This country needs to fire the Statists, whether they be liberal Democrats or RINO Republicans.    

  7. As a pro capitalist/anti “social” conservative (i.e., Republican socialist/collectivist/neocrat), I’d like to sell my vote to the highest bidder. it’s the best outcome for this campaign I can imagine so far. Sure, it’s illegal but congress does it all the time.
    I hope for some candidates at the state level with a firm commitment to the tenth amendment – unlike Santorum who apparently hasn’t read it, and the other GOinterloPers who understand it just well enough to know how to get around it. States rights need a big comeback.

  8. Hmm  . . . Maybe Romney’s closing the deal. 
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/151961/Majority-Conservatives-Romney-Acceptable.aspx  I did say that Romney improved his chances of winning the nomination more than any other candidate in Saturday’s debate.  

    I also think that attacks on Romney’s decisions as head of Bain are ridiculous.  Conservatives may flock to Mitt in defense of corporate profits–which provide the surplus wealth that pays for things like medicine and sports. 

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