There’s only one statewide newspaper in New Hampshire, the conservative Union Leader. It’s already endorsed John McCain, it’s already run an editorial instructing its readers to stay away from Mitt Romney (as has the liberal Concord Monitor), and it’s got a full-throttle McCain special running right now.
The Monitor has a story similar to the Union Leader’s. And the Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh, whose paper has also endorsed McCain, weighs in with a column sympathetic to McCain as well. It’s possible that Romney could withstand this low moment in his campaign — but he’s only got five days for it to blow over.
Of course, the media have a long-standing love affair with McCain — nothing new there. McCain has been known to jokingly call the media his “base.” McCain’s finish in Iowa was mediocre at best (yes, I realize he sort of but not quite wrote the state off; but you don’t want to be neck and neck with Fred Thompson, for crying out loud), but the media are spinning it in his favor.
On the other hand, there’s no better constituency for McCain than New Hampshire’s libertarian, secular Republicans. They went for him over George W. Bush in 2000, and it would be no surprise if they go for him next Tuesday.
The difference is that McCain had nowhere else to go after his victory eight years ago. This time, it may be Romney who has nowhere else to go.
I’m guessing the Sunday Globe will front the results of one last pre-New Hampshire poll. I’m also guessing that Romney won’t like the numbers.