Last-minute polls show Jon Huntsman finally starting to make an impact on the New Hampshire primary, but is it too little too late? The former Utah governor has been the only candidate to gain almost no traction at any point in the race, but with one day to go before the primary of the year, the numbers show him polling somewhere between 11 and 15 percent. He's still far behind front-runner Mitt Romney, but that's a big improvement — as is the size of the crowds coming out to see him speak — from his single-digit standing just a week ago and enough to have him challenging for second-place. FiveThirtyEight has him projected to finish solidly in third.
New Hampshire, of course, is a last stand for Huntsman, who needs to make a big splash to have any hope in South Carolina and beyond. However, even a third or distant second place in New Hampshire may not be enough to make a difference. Since he put no effort into Iowa and is still way behind the more conservative candidates (Ron Paul and Rick Santorum) in the South. (Current polls have Huntsman in the single digits in the next two primaries.) And giving Romney convincing wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire might be too much momentum for any candidate to overcome. A third win in South Carolina next week (where Romney has a comfortable lead) and the race is all over, but the counting. The only reason it isn't over already is because of right-wing antipathy to Romney, and for that problem, Huntsman is not the cure.