Color me surprised. I have to admit that I didn't put much stock in Obama's supporters turning out for the caucuses. I thought he was too dependent on young and new voters to pull it off. I'm almost shocked at the margin he won with and I'm somewhat heartened by Clinton's third place showing. It shows that the party machine can't pull the strings to dictate the outcome as easily as they have in previous elections. That's a good sign I think.
On the Republican side, I'm also surprised at Huckabee's wide margin of victory. I expected Romney to do much better considering the amount of money he sank into the state. Ron Paul was the only candidate that performed as I expected and although I've seen some talk about his being an also-ran, he was only three points away from the presumptive serious candidates, Thompson and McCain. I never thought he'd get the nomination but I'd say this proves he has the creds for a third party run.
As for what these results will mean for New Hampshire, I'd say probably not much, especially on the GOP side. Iowa was tailor made for an evangelical like Huckabee. The fundies don't have such a strong presence in New England and it seems unlikely Huck will get much momentum from this win there and on the Dems side, the spread wasn't so wide that any candidate gets a free ride.
My first impression is that the race is still wide open and we may well have to go all the way to Super Tuesday before we see a definitive frontrunner on either side and that would be good. It makes it more interesting and it will give the voters in other states more of voice in determining the final candidates. Plus, voters that feel empowered will likely become more engaged in the process which is exactly what we need to wrest control from the party-media machine.
Update by Cernig
James Joyner has a great round-up of reactions from both Left and Right but for the quintessential non-fundie conservative reaction to Huckabee's win, see Stephen Green at VodkaPundit:
Dear Iowa Republicans,In his comments, it goes downhill from there. If Huckabee wins the nomination the GOP will do a Planet Krypton, with big radioactive chunks spinning off everywhere and no Kal-El in sight.
I’ll put this in language even your tiny little Iowa brains can understand: What the f*** is wrong with you people?
The news coming out of Des Moines (literally, French for “tell me about the rabbits, George”) tonight is distressing in the extreme. 32 years ago, your Democratic brethren took one look at Jimmy Carter -- the worst 20th Century President bar Nixon, and the worst ex-President ever -- and declared, “That’s our man!”
Three decades later, and along comes Mike Huckabee. Same moral pretentiousness, same gullibility on foreign affairs, only-slightly-less toothy idiot’s grin. Then you so-called Republicans took a look at Carter’s clone and said, “That’s our man, too!”