Rudy doesn't have a lead in New Hampshire or in any other early primary. His challenge is to stay alive until Jan. 29, then win Florida. That would help him bounce back and fight it out state-by-state on Feb. 5.
But against whom? If Huckabee beats Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire becomes a tight three-way battle that Huckabee, Romney or Giuliani could win. Huckabee would have his Iowa momentum and his abortion purity; Romney would have a regional advantage, having served as Massachusetts governor. Rudy would have a strong base in this northeastern state.
Independents, who can vote in either primary in New Hampshire, seem likely to opt mainly for the Democratic contest (to bolster or destroy Hillary). This would give the GOP true believer, Huckabee, a big edge.
If Romney loses New Hampshire, he probably can't recover, given the expectations. The rest of the GOP contest would feature a battle between Rudy and Huckabee.
There's no safe bets yet.
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