8:30 p.m. The expected happened tonight, so the prediction markets had no reason to move. Romney, cruising to an easy victory, is now a few percentage points more likely to win South Carolina at about 73 percent, and still about 80 percent likely to win the nomination.
Ron Paul's strong second place finish did nothing to convince the markets that he can beat Romney for the nomination. Yet, Paul is going fight all the way to the convention and he is going influence the election in two ways. First, he is going to continue to have a 15-20 percent likelihood of running as a third party candidate. Second, because of that specter hanging over the Republicans, he will have a huge opportunity to influence the Republican platform.
Huntsman's likelihood of competing for the nomination is plummeting towards negligible with his third place finish. He is still not competing in South Carolina and his last bastion is Florida, if he can keep his campaign going until then.
The main question is the jockeying for the anyone-but-Romney position between the two Palmetto sweethearts. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum benefit from Huntsman's third place finish, but they suffer from the weight of an even stronger Romney. Gingrich is slightly ahead of Santorum in New Hampshire and is slightly more likely to carry South Carolina.
4:56 p.m. Mitt Romney is heavily favored to win both the New Hampshire primary and, eventually, the Republican nomination. Utilizing prediction market data, Romney has a 97.3 percent likelihood to win the New Hampshire primary and an 80.0 percent likelihood to win the nomination. Those are great odds for the former Massachusetts governor, but they are not absolute. Here are a few things to remember if you're banking on that other 20 percent.
1. Don't Count on Ron Paul. Paul currently has the best likelihood to come in second place in New Hampshire. But his likelihood to finish first or second, currently at 54.8 percent, has been trending downward fast over the last few days. More importantly, the market's confidence in his ability to compete in South Carolina plummeted as soon as it appeared that he would not win Iowa. With his dedicated national organization, he will likely run hard through the last primary, but he will not be the anyone-but-Romney candidate.
2. Huntsman: The Not-Romney Virgin.
Counting Paul out leaves three candidates left to challenge Romney: Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. Of those three, Huntsman is the only one who hasn't received serious consideration, and he has a very high likelihood of finishing in the money in New Hampshire. The markets give him a 92.5 percent likelihood to finish first, second, or third, and he has been trending upward in New Hampshire over the last few days. His likelihood of finishing first or second is 44.8 percent, about 10 percentage points below Paul.
Likelihood of New Hampshire Primary_win, place, show
Sources: Betfair and Intrade, Click here for Live TableRead More »from The real New Hampshire winner is the final non-Romney contender