Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the only candidate I could see potentially dropping out tonight, and I doubt that will happen considering his recent surge in the polls.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will surely move on to South Carolina. His near-victory in Iowa is still fresh and infused his campaign with some cash. Plus, one recent poll has Santorum just 3 points behind Romney in South Carolina. He’ll continue on, no matter the result tonight.
I think former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will move on as well. Polls indicate that Gingrich could very well come in fifth in New Hampshire. With two lackluster election performances, some candidates positioned where Gingrich is would call it quits. But Gingrich seems to have no intention of exiting quite yet. He is still polling well in South Carolina. At the very least, he will stay in the race to continue to attack Mitt Romney, who he seems to despise.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is not really competing in New Hampshire so he certainly won’t drop out. And there are no circumstances where front-runner Mitt Romney would drop out.
Only Huntsman could bow out since he has bet his candidacy on New Hampshire. He basically moved to the state over the last several months. If he falls below third place or even gets third place but loses to the second place candidate by a large margin, it is easy to see him calling it a day.
But polls suggest that is not too likely a scenario, though certainly far from impossible. Huntsman could do as well as second place tonight. Even a strong third with Ron Paul in second would likely propel his campaign forward.
So tonight, don’t plan on saying any good-byes.