First, the aftermath of Iowa: I'll analyze the Democratic Party side of the equation first, since frankly, that's the more interesting of the two. The outcome in Iowa was the political equivalent of the 1960 Valdivia earthquake. The significance of Obama's 8 point win over Edwards and 9 point win over Clinton simply cannot be overstated. I have simply run out of superlatives to use. Even Rush Limbaugh knows that Obama is the Republican Party's worst nightmare, and admitted as such on his radio show today while he tap-danced on Hilary Clinton's political grave. Obama has already taken some of the worst licks he's going to take from Clinton's camp, and he came out on top. There's no demographic in Iowa that he didn't win, most of them by significant amounts. He won the independents, the youth, the women, the minorities (what few there are in Iowa), and by virtue of the fact that Iowa is 92% white, he won the Caucasian vote. He completely destroyed the twin notions of Clinton's inevitability and that of his questionable viability among Caucasian voters. The main advantages Clinton had, and I use the past tense on purpose, were her experience and the aura of inevitability she carried around with her. Well, people want change, and with this loss in Iowa, that aura shattered like a dish at a Greek wedding reception. Hilary coming in third put her campaign on the canvas, and only time will tell if she can answer the ten count. However, with her two main upsides gone, and a large swath of people from all across the political spectrum not liking her all that much, this could be a first round knockout. Edwards is left in an excellent position, though he's still vulnerable. If he doesn't do well in New Hampshire and South Carolina, admittedly unlikely, he'll be seriously behind on points.
On the GOP side, well, who can be too surprised that a Baptist preacher-boy won in a state with a huge proportion of evangelical Christians? Romney's finish, well, wasn't a complete embarrassment, but certainly hurt him going into McCain's stronghold of New Hampshire. If he doesn't do well there, he'll have a very difficult time winning the GOP nomination. Thompson's campaign stubbornly refused to realize it was dead, coming in third with McCain coming in a whisker behind in fourth. Ron Paul came in with a respectable 10%, good, but not nearly good enough. It will take a miracle for Giuliani to pull it off with the strategy he has chosen, and that miracle will likely never come. As for Hunter, he's a tool.
For New Hampshire, I make the following predictions: On the GOP side, I'm picking McCain as the winner, with Romney coming in second at 5% behind, and Huckabee or Ron Paul coming in 8% off the pace. I see Thompson's campaign ending not with a bang, but a whimper. Giuliani's campaign will linger, but will remain on a morphine drip. As for Hunter, who really cares? Still, he may look back on his 1% showing in Iowa with fondness.
On the Democratic Party side, I have it too close to call between Obama and Edwards. Four days is a long time to digest what happened in Iowa, and neither candidate would surprise me by winning. I predict that the winner will win by 2%-3%. I see Clinton in a distant third at 10% off the pace. Richardson will call it a day, and Gravel and Kucinich are irrelevant.
New Hampshire is a must-win for both McCain and Clinton, and in Clinton's case, it takes on even more urgency by being a must-win-decisively. A 4% win or worse will not help her campaign, and a loss will bury her chances to be anything more than a junior Senator from New York or a former First Lady. In McCain's case, even a 2% loss will be near-fatal to his campaign. A Romney win, as unlikely as it is, will blow the GOP race wide open again.