UPDATE, Jan 12, 8:29 p.m.: On Thursday, the New Hampshire secretary of state certified the Granite State’s primary results, and the final totals show that Santorum actually narrowly edged out Gingrich for fourth. That means Parker and Rubin correctly forecast the order of all six major candidates in New Hampshire. The original text is below.
On Monday, PostOpinions writers predicted the standings in the New Hampshire primary. On Tuesday, New Hampshirites voted: Mitt Romney came in first, Ron Paul second, Jon Huntsman third, Newt Gingrich fourth, Rick Santorum fifth and Rick Perry sixth. (Almost) everyone was right...about Romney winning, anyway. But how did we do on the rest of the standings? In a roughly descending order of accuracy:
James Downie swept the board predicting the top five, the only of our prognosticators to say that Gingrich would beat Santorum for fourth place — which the former speaker appears to have done, just barely.
Stephen Stromberg predicted the top three and got each one, arguing that Romney would not win by 20 points or more (he won by 16.5 points) and that Paul and Huntsman would both get a boost from independents. According to exit polls, Paul won more of the independent vote than any other candidate (31 percent), and Huntsman owes much of his support to his share of the independent vote (22 percent), but Romney also won a large chunk of independents (30 percent).
Alexandra Petri predicted the top three correctly, and with funny jokes.
Jennifer Rubin was nearly entirely correct about the top six — including her prediction that Romney would wrangle 37 to 40 percent (he got 39.3 percent), and that Paul would finish in the high teens or low 20’s (he got 22.8 percent). But she predicted that Santorum would beat Gingrich to fourth.
Kathleen Parker nearly predicted the order of all six major candidates, but she also said that Santorum would beat Gingrich. Parker argued that Romney would prevail in part because voters believe he has the best chance of beating Obama. Indeed, a huge majority of voters who cared most about electability went for Romney.
E.J. Dionne predicted the top three finishers, but not in the right order. Dionne predicted that Huntsman would “squeeze by” Paul for No. 2, when Paul took second convincingly, with 22.8 percent versus Huntsman’s 16.9 percent. Dionne also said that Romney would take under 35 percent of the vote when he ended up taking 39.3 percent.
Katrina vanden Heuvel got the top two right, but she said that Huntsman and Santorum would struggle for third. Huntsman beat Santorum by 7.5 points. Vanden Heuvel also predicted that social issues would not play a large roll in the voting, and only 6 percent of voters said abortion was their top issue on Tuesday.
Marc Thiessen got two of the top three, but he predicted that Santorum would come in second, when he came in a distant fifth. But his other prediction — that Romney could well have the nomination wrapped up by the end of the month — hasn’t yet been tested.
Eugene Robinson predicted two of the top three, but he said that Romney would only get about 30 percent of the vote, when he got 39.3 percent. Robinson said that Huntsman would come in second, when he came in third. And Robinson said that Gingrich would beat Santorum for third, when Paul beat both of them and the third-place Huntsman handily.
Richard Cohen predicted two of the top three, but he projected that Romney wouldn’t get “anything like” the 40 percent he did in pre-primary polls. Romney got 39.3 percent. Cohen said that Huntsman would come in second, but he came in third. And Cohen predicted that Santorum would come in third with the support of social conservatives, when Santorum came in a distant fourth and a plurality of voters who self-identified as social conservatives voted for Romney.
Jonathan Bernstein predicted that Buddy Roemer would edge out Rick Perry for sixth. But Perry got twice as many votes as Roemer — a whopping 1,752.