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Intrade Post-New Hampshire: Is Romney Already the Last Man Standing?

It's official: Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary over and in the past where Romney has emerged victorious for both, in light of Intrade statistics, is the race for the Republican nomination effectively over already?

According to CNN, the New Hampshire primary results were as follows: Mitt Romney won with 39 percent, Ron Paul finished second with 23 percent, Jon Huntsman received 17 percent, Newt Gingrich received 10 percent, and Rick Santorum was brought back down to reality following a near-tie in Iowa with 9 percent. Rick Perry finished at the bottom with 1 percent.

According to the Associated Press' Brian Bakst, rivals remain anxious to end Romney's "two-state winning streak". The race now turns south as candidates target Romney as the frontrunner in order to become the single conservative alternative to the former Massachusetts governor. Bakst: "Despite the rougher tone and tougher ideological terrain ahead, the former Massachusetts governor is hoping to force his opponents from the race by achieving a four-state streak with victories in South Carolina on Jan. 21 and Florida 10 days later." Bakst continued, "[Romney] posted a double-digit win Tuesday night in New Hampshire after a squeaker the week before in Iowa."

While many may believe that Romney is not a consistent conservative, the rest of the Republican candidates are vying to become the one remaining alternative to Romney. BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller reported Tuesday that in a bold move, Rep. Ron Paul's campaign has called for the remaining Republican candidates, save Mitt Romney, to drop out of the race. Ron Paul's National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton said in a statement on behalf of the campaign, "We urge Ron Paul's opponents who have been unsuccessfully trying to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney to unite by getting out of the race and uniting behind Paul's candidacy." Paul finished second-place in the 2012 New Hampshire primary behind Romney.

Benton's comments were bold: "The race is becoming more clearly a two-man race between establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the candidate of authentic change. That means there is only one true conservative choice... Ron Paul is clearly the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney as the campaign goes forward."

As the Republican presidential candidates argue against each other on the campaign trail and now set their eyes on South Carolina and Florida, one has to wonder: Is the race already over? According to recent numbers from the predictions marketplace Intrade, there is an 86.8 percent chance that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012; the accompanying contract is trading for $8.70 on Intrade. Comparatively, there is a 3.4 percent chance that Ron Paul will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012; the accompanying contract is trading for $0.35 on Intrade.

Though Newt Gingrich, as with several of the other Republican candidates, had his moment in the sun for a while, on Intrade there is currently only a 4.4 percent chance that Newt Gingrich will finish as the Republican presidential nominee, trading near $0.46. At Gingrich's Intrade peak in early December, a contract soared to roughly $3.50, or a 35 percent chance that Gingrich would be the Republican presidential nominee. While Rick Santorum nearly tied with Mitt Romney, his respective Intrade price rose as high as 5.5 percent and has since dropped to under 2 percent, with a 21.1 percent drop on Wednesday.

Whereas the big issue on the minds of conservative Republicans may be merely selecting a conservative presidential candidate that can defeat Pres. Barack Obama, it is significant to note that Mitt Romney currently sports a 41.7 percent chance of being elected president in 2012 on Intrade. Comparatively, Obama has a 50.8 percent chance of being re-elected. While Romney currently has the highest percentage chance of being elected president of the Republican field, the remaining Republican candidates have single-digit numbers or less when it comes to their chances of being elected president. Santorum has a 0.7 chance of being elected President, Gingrich has a 2 percent chance, Paul has a 2.6 percent chance, and Huntsman has a 1 percent chance. While Rick Perry once had a relatively high chance of being elected president in 2012, his chances now stand at 0.2 percent.

Given a likely contest between Obama and Romney, most polls currently show Obama having a lead of a handful of percentage points against Romney. As some see defeating Obama as the main goal in the 2012 election and as the race for the Republican nomination continues, polls comparing potential Republicans against Obama could become key in determining who secures the Republican nomination. If Romney goes on to win South Carolina and Florida, the course of conservative Romney skeptics may go from veiled suspicion to either partisan reconciliation or revolt. If a dark horse emerges at the last minute in the Republican race, it is likely that Romney's status could change.

Given the heat of the campaign trail, Romney's key victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the current Intrade percentages listed above, though Republican candidates may be targeting and criticizing each other in order to secure the nomination, it would appear that Mitt Romney has already won the Republican nomination. With a formidable 86.6 percent chance (having risen to 87.1 percent by the posting of this article) of being the Republican presidential candidate, the remaining Republican candidates appear to have their work cut out for them -- an uphill climb to say the least. That being the case, we are still a long way from November 2012. A lot can happen between now and the election.

Posted-In: IntradeNews Politics Topics Events Economics Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga

 

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