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W&L Mock Con Predicts Romney in New Hampshire, Followed by Paul, Huntsman

With polls in New Hampshire showing Mitt Romney with an insurmountable lead in the Republican presidential primary, the student researchers for Washington and Lee University’s Mock Republican Convention are predicting that he will win between 38 and 42 percent of the vote, followed by Ron Paul in second place and Jon Huntsman in third.

The New Hampshire prediction, issued Monday, was prepared by New Hampshire state chair Frank Cullo, a senior from Sewickley, Pa.; political chair Zach Wilkes, a senior from Farmerville, La.; and the Mock Convention political team.

“While Romney is stable at the top, and Paul has at least been consistently polling in second, third through fifth place are more volatile,” wrote Cullo on the Mock Convention blog. “Undecided voters and potential crossover voters are poised to leave their mark on the primary results, which could lead to chaos in the lower tier.

“What we can confidently predict, though, is that Rick Santorum’s impressive second-place finish in Iowa — falling short by just eight votes — will likely not translate into a large bump in the much more independently minded electorate in New Hampshire. Heading into Tuesday’s primary, we see the most likely scenario placing Huntsman in third place, benefiting from the extensive time he spent in the state and recent strong debate performances, followed by Santorum and Newt Gingrich.”

Cullo wrote that the Mock Convention researchers expect Romney to score a double-digit victory over Paul, who will earn between 18 and 24 percent of the vote. They expect Huntsman to get between 12 and 16 percent.

In writing their prediction, the Mock Convention students added that a lackluster finish in New Hampshire by Santorum “will cost him much-needed momentum going into the bruising South Carolina primary” and that Gingrich “will suffer the embarrassment of falling below Ron Paul, and quite possibly Huntsman and Santorum, in the Granite State, making South Carolina a must-win for the Gingrich camp.”

The 2012 Mock Republican Convention will be Feb. 9-11 on the W&L campus. The convention nominates its presidential candidate on Saturday, Feb. 11.

The student researchers have been at work throughout the year preparing for their ultimate prediction. Last week they correctly predicted an Iowa victory for Romney.

Since its inception in 1908, W&L’s convention has been considered the most realistic exercise and the most accurate, with 19 correct predictions in 25 attempts. Until they incorrectly chose Hillary Clinton to head the Democratic ticket in 2008, the W&L student conventioneers had been right on eight consecutive predictions.

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