I had a tenure track interview at an R1 university a few weeks ago, and today the department chair wrote to me that
We were impressed with your candidacy and still have the possibility of making an offer of a position, but you were not identified as our top candidate.
Firstly, in your experience either as someone in the search committee or as an applicant, do they send this kind of email to any person who isn't the first choice (all other short-listed candidates), or only to the second person?
Secondly, in STEM fields, (more specifically physics) how probable is it that the offer can go to the second person? With my limited experience in the US system (I moved here less than two years ago), my understanding has been so far that getting an in-person interview is so tough, getting an offer is tougher, so it's not very probable that people get more than one offer and decline the other one. Is this a correct statement?