Rick, Newt, Jon, Ron or Mitt? Who will claim victory late tonight?
Of the 767,383 registered voters in New Hampshire, over 300 thousand are registered as "undeclared," or roughly 41 percent of the total number. This voting population is larger percentage wise than both Republicans 30% and Democrats 29 %.
The state of New Hampshire will send only 12 delegates to the Republican National Convention, out of 2,286 total, because it lost half its delegates under a Republican National Committee punishment for holding a primary before the approved February date range. The RNC adopted new rules in August to push back the start of the 2012 GOP race, but after Florida jumped the line, New Hampshire moved its date earlier along with Iowa and South Carolina.
Therefore New Hampshire is important because it is the first state, the momentum it can bestow and the attention it receives from candidates and the members of the news media.
However, if the GOP’s 2012 campaign becomes a fight for delegates, the first-in-the-nation primary won’t weigh as heavily on the final outcome.