Finally, at long last, it is the evening of the New Hampshire primary. Most, but not all, of the polls close at 7 pm and we should start getting results rather quickly after that.
Going into today’s vote the state of the race according to the latest polling is that Mitt Romney had a large lead with Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman competing for a distant second. The big question will not be whether or not Romney wins but by how much.
If you feel compelled to follow the results second by second, I’ve found that the Politico election page has been very quick at getting the newest results updated.
7:02 pm – Most polls are now closed, all polls will be close in an hour at 8:00 pm.
7:16 pm – We are looking at a relatively moderate, as much as there can be in the modern Republican party, turnout according to the exit polling data released so far.
7:28 pm – We have 1 percent reporting: Mitt Romney 38%, Ron Paul 23%, Jon Huntsman 16%, Newt Gingrich 11%, and Rick Santorum 9.5%. While we are only talking about a few hundred votes so far, I won’t be surprised if this ended up pretty close to the final total.
7:40 pm – With 4 percent reporting: Romney 36.9%, Paul 24.1, Huntsman 14.5, Gingrich 11.7, Santorum 10.3
7:50 pm – With 7 percent reporting the state of the race is holding pretty steady. Romney 35.9, Paul 25.3, Huntsman 15, Gingrich 11.1, Santorum 10. Don’t be surprised if the networks start calling it soon after 8 pm when the last polls close.
7:56 pm – If Romney gets below 40 percent of the vote, it will at least partially be due to Ron Paul expanding the electorate. So far with 11 percent reporting Paul is strongly exceeding his polling.
8:00 pm – Right on time CNN calls the race for Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wins the New Hampshire primary!
8:05 pm – Here are the exit polls.
8:10 pm – Some interesting things from the exit polls. Romney won the Republican vote by 45 percent. That is really good news for Romney going into the states with closed primaries.
Paul is doing respectably well because he expanded the electorate. Among the 13 percent of people who have never voted in a GOP primary before, Paul won 37 percent of that vote.
8:20 pm – NBC News is projecting that Ron Paul will take second.
8:22 pm – Jon Huntsman, despite taking a distant third, is saying he will not drop out. On to South Carolina!
8:24 pm – CNN is projecting that Jon Huntsman will take third.
8:28 pm – With 19 percent reporting: Romney 35.5, Paul 24.7, Huntsman 17, Gingrich 10.3, Santorum 10.1
Final Thoughts – It seems all the big news for the night has already broken so I’m going to end the actual live blogging.
The big news tonight is that Mitt Romney won by a healthy margin. Ron Paul managed to take a strong second. Jon Huntsman, despite devoting his campaign almost entirely to New Hampshire, will only take third. Even though he finished in third, Huntsman said he will not end his campaign tonight.