The closer this gets to the end of the year with nobody pulling ahead
Uh, Dean is ten points ahead of John Kerry and Kerry is thirtee points ahead of everybody else. How is that not "pulling ahead" in NH, assuming that the undecided vote spreads even slightly evenly?
In any case, the numbers are pretty much irrelevant. Remember in 1992 Bill Clinton only got six percent of the primary vote in Iowa (Tom Harkin came in first) and then only came in second in New Hampshire and South Carolina (behind Paul Tsongas) and didn't start dominating the primaries till halfway through the season.
Republicans tend to choose their candidate early on (W, Bob Dole, Reagan) and rally behind him early. Democrats tend to throw an entire bunch of people into the fray and see who emerges (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, even John F. Kennedy). It's just a difference in how the parties do things, and saying that the Democrats are inefficient for not following the Republican model doesn't really compute.
Sorry, was referring to the national picture, not NH specifically...
My point still stands, then.
And again - Bill Clinton didn't emerge until midway through the primary season, neither did Carter, neither did Kennedy. The last two Democrats to win the primaries decisively from the beginning were Gore and Dukakis. Which doesn't mean anything either - I mean, one of the Dem candidates could walk away with everything and then beat Bush, who knows - but again, this is how the Democrats operate, they don't anoint the candidate before the primary season starts.