New Hampshire: will it be Obama and McCain’s night? (UPDATED)

by Stephen Tall on January 9, 2008

The polls are pointing to triumphs for Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and his Republican counterpart, John McCain, in today’s New Hampshire primary.

The final Reuters/C_SPAN/Zogby tracking poll shows Obama widening his lead over Hillary Clinton to 13 points, 42% to 29%, with John Edwards at 17%.

For the Republicans, McCain has also pulled away from Mitt Romney, taking a 36% to 27% lead, followed by Mike Huckabee at 10%, and Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul both at 9%.

Turnout looks likely to be huge – an estimated 500,000 have cast their votes, up from the record of 396,000 set in 2000. CQ Politics reports that state officials “expect 260,000 Democratic ballots and 240,000 Republican ballots to be cast, a reflection in part of shifts of Republican voters to independent status and of independent voters toward Democratic candidates in recent elections. In addition, it’s the first contest since 1928 that neither party has had a sitting president or vice-president seeking the nomination.”

UPDATE: And then again, maybe not. Exit polls initially make it too close to call between Obama and Clinton, though with McCain tapped to win on the Republican side. Even if Obama does just win, a narrow defeat for Clinton may allow her to re-use Bill Clinton’s 1992 “comeback kid” tag given the expectations that had built up in the last two days for a large Obama victory in New Hampshire.