Tag Archives: New Hampshire primary

Who voted how and why in the Democratic New Hampshire Primary?

I’m looking at an exit poll by NBC and I have thoughts.

Gender Gap

Much has been made of the fact that Sanders got 55% of female votes, more than 44% for Clinton. That is indeed significant. But little has been said about the fact that among males, 66% voted for Sanders and 32% for Clinton. (55% of the Democratic Primary voters were female, 45% male.)


93% of the Democratic Primary voters were white, 2% black, and the numbers are so small that almost nothing can be said about this important distinction among voters. This is unfortunate because this will impact several upcoming races. But grouping all nine of the non-white New Hampshire voters together (I exaggerate humorously) we see that among the 7% of non-white voters, they broke nearly evenly, with Clinton getting 50% and Sanders getting 49%. Some will find that unexpected. Still, it is hard to say what this means for, say South Carolina.

The Youth Vote and New Voters

Much has been said of the age distribution of voters. Sanders took a lot of young votes. Sanders took a majority in age categories from 18-64.

This is good news and bad news for Sanders and for the Democrats. First the good news: Insurgent elections have been won with emerging, excited young votes piling up behind and candidate. This suggests that Sanders can surge across the country, and then, in the general election, do well. It also suggests that if Clinton ends up as the nominee, she will have some newly engaged youth vote behind her, if they stick with the process.

Now the bad news: Young voters seem to have a lower chance of actually showing up at the polls even if they are engaged in the process. This is a long election season. There are constant GOP efforts to interfere with college voters, playing on the residence issue (many young voters move to or from home during the year, and the GOP tries to get them to not vote at all costs.) So, this youth vote may not be as big of an effect in November as it is now. Also, if Clinton ends up as the nominee, will the Sanders-energized youth vote simply stay home, or worse, vote for a Republican?

More importantly, when asked about levels of satisfaction vs. dissatisfaction if a particular candidate won the nomination, the level of dissatisfaction among Sanders supporters is much much higher than among Clinton supporters. If Clinton wins the nomination, she may not carry with her much of the Sanders surge.

83% of the New Hampshire Primary voters had voted in earlier Democratic primaries. 57% of these voters voted for Sanders, 41% for clinton.

17% of this year’s New Hampshire Primary voters had not perviously voted in a Democratic primary. That may be a big number, but it would sure be nice if it was bigger, indicating a bigger groundswell for either candidate. Among those new voters, 78% voted for Sanders, 21% for Clinton, confirming the idea that Sanders is bringing in voters, at least to his side.


Sanders beat Clinton in all family income levels except the top range, but the differences near the top may correlate with, and be caused by, the age distribution of voters. But at the lower end, Sanders did way better than Clinton. He took 71% of the under 30K range, 60% in the 30-40K range, and 64% in the 50-100K range. It was more even in the 100-200K range, but Sanders still won there, with Clinton beating sanders only in the 200+K range.

Political Proclivities

Sanders voters were generally more liberal, but as we go from very liberal through moderate, the overall balance between the two candidate changes very little. People are not picking Sanders or Clinton on the basis of their own self identification of liberal vs. moderate to a very large extent, though Sanders did do better in the “very liberal” category. There is a difference, it is just not that large.


Astonishingly, shockingly, embarrassingly, and annoyingly, almost unconscionably, NBC did not think to ask about climate change. Just as important, when asked what issues were important to them, voters didn’t seem to mention climate change either. This is bad.

Sanders did a little better than Clinton among those who consider Health Care and Terrorism important, but not more-better than overall in the primary, so there is not a difference here. He did about the same on economy and jobs voters as he did in the overall polling, so again, not a meaningful effect. However, it was Sanders at 70% to Clinton at 29% among voters who identified income inequality as their most important issue. I suspect young, somewhat more male, new, income-inequality (read, perhaps, #occupy) voters brought in by the Sanders campaign that gave him his win in New Hampshire.

When asked “who shares your values” 11% thought only Clinton, 33% thought only Sanders, and 51% thought both of them. This conforms to what I’ve seen as a Sanders-supporter vs. Clinton-supporter difference the vilification/deification ratio. Importantly, though, a slim majority of voters feel that either candidate shares their values.

Both candidates are seen as good for handling health care, in the majority. The ability to handle the economy is a bit more ambiguous, with a starker split between “My candidate only” and “Either.” With respect to handling income inequality, Sanders was seen as the strong candidate by a plurality of voters.

When asked if the next president should continue Obama’s policies, 82% said yes, or be more liberal. Among those who chose more liberal, more were Sanders supporters.

For “cares about people like me” and “is honest and trustworthy” Sanders rolled over clinton by a landslide. For “has the right experience” Clinton trounced Sanders.

Everybody wants to tax the rich, more so among Sanders supporters.


Among those who think general election electability is the most important quality to use in choosing a candidate, 70% broke for Clinton, 19% for Sanders. In a way, one could argue that Clinton is the more electable candidate, but only if she doesn’t win the nomination. That may be the most important message given us by New Hampshire. Thanks, New Hampshire!

Who won the New Hampshire primary?

At about 9 PM eastern, with 90% of the votes counted in the Democratic primary, Sanders is showing a strong win. He is currently at about 60%, while Clinton is at 38%. That gap is significantly larger than what I had intuitively established at the cutoff for a Sanders “lower than expectation loss.” So, congratulations Bernie Sanders! If those numbers hold, that is a decisive win.

(A lot of Sanders supporters were crowing about a 20% lead in the polls, which seemed kind of extreme at the time. They may end up being proven right!)

In the Republican primary, with about 90% reporting, Donald Trump has been declared the winner, with 35% of the vote.

Kasich is being declared second, with 16%

Then we have Cruz (11.6%), Bush (11.1%), Rubio (10.5%), and Christie (7.5%) followed by Fiorina and Carson (insignificant).

Note that the gaps between the third and lower candidates is so small that the sum of “write in” and lower level candidates that could not possibly have won is enough to have allowed for a strategic repositioning of second or third place.

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary

I wrote about what I thought might happen in the New Hampshire primary a few days ago, but enough new stuff has happened to make it worth revisiting.

Who will win the New Hampshire GOP Primary?

And, perhaps more important, who will come in second, third, and fourth?

We know that Donald Trump will win the New Hampshire primary. Polls show him up far above the other candidates, he has been on a modest upward trend since the beginning of the year, and the most recent polls show an abrupt upward swing. He now stands at about 17% above the second place candidates.

New Hampshire seems to like Rubio and Cruz to about equal amounts, but has been showing a preference for the up and coming Rubio over the last week or so. But, Rubio’s performance in the GOP debate is widely seen as abysmal, even embarrassing. The most recent polls seem to show a drop in Rubio’s share since the debate. It looks like nothing more than a squiggle of the magnitude one expects in such polls, especially with so many candidates, but given the debate, it is quite possible that his support is rapidly declining.

So, even though Rubio’s average poll rating over the last several days suggests he is a weak second place contender, I’m going to predict that he does not come in second place. I suspect Kasich and Cruz are tied for that honor, but Cruz has consistently polled ahead of Kasich, and seems to be preferred over other candidates, even Trump, in head to head polls among many New Hampshire voters. In other words, when supporters of Rubio, Kasich, Bush, Christie, and everybody else have their candidates taken away in a hypothetical, they break for Cruz, not Trump.

For this reason, I’m going to predict that Cruz will come in second. The amount of damage suffered by Rubio will determine if he comes in third, or possibly fourth behind Kasich. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, at least until tomorrow night when we find out what actually happened!

Who will win the New Hampshire Democratic Primary?

All the numbers suggest that Sanders will win in New Hampshire, so that is pretty much settled. The question is, by how much. Sanders’ lead over clinton has been steadily increasing in the Granite State since mid January, and it was starting to look like he could be way ahead of Clinton. But, as is the case with the GOP race, the last few days has shown a narrowing between the two candidates. The last few polls have them between 17 and 13 points or so apart, with the gap closing.

While everybody thinks their own candidate nailed the New Hampshire debate, the fact is that Clinton may have faired better, or Sanders worse. Sanders produced at least to really bad answers on foreign policy, and Clinton parried questions that has been raised about her fairly effectively. New Hampshire voters tend to keep themselves open until fairly late in the game, it is said, and these factors may influence the outcome.

If the gap closes to 10% or less, that is bad news for the Sanders campaign and good news for the Clinton campaign. If the gap ends up being around 13% plus or minus a few, then the message being sent by New Hampshire would be similar to that sent by Iowa: “You Democrats have two roughly equal candidates, carry on!” If the gap re-widens to beyond 15%, the there is evidence of a Sanders surge. If one take Iowa’s message as also meaning “Sanders, previously low in polling, rose quite a bit before the caucus” and New Hampshire says something similar, then that would be a very strong message in favor of Sanders.

(We do not expect equal numbers in New Hampshire because of the modest favorite son effect.)

Stay Tuned.

Who will win the New Hampshire Primary and what will that mean?


ADDED: Following the GOP primary, there has been another development. In most recent polls, Trump is clearly ahead in New Hampshire, with Marco Rubio a moderately strong second or third. In various polls he is second in most polls (by a few points) and tied in one. Kasich is generally right behind Rubio, with Cruz in third place in a few polls.

Rubio crashed and burned in last night’s debate, according to most observers. And he really did. So, this may be reflected in New Hamsphire with Rubio moving down quite a bit. He crashed in part because Christie skillfully skewered him. I suspect this could bring Cristie’s numbers up a bit. We ight be looking at an order something like this: Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Christie, then Rubio and Bush coming in fourth and fifth. Carson will not do well, and this may be his last primary.

Who will win the GOP primary?

First, let us dispense with the Republicans. (If only it were so easy!)

Trump is so far ahead in the polling that it is impossible to imagine him not winning. He is so far ahead, that if he doesn’t win, the we can expect most of his financial backers to back away and his candidacy to be severely damaged.

Of course, since he is probably his own main financial backer, that will mean that a damaged candidacy will continue to lead the Republican pack for a while. But, really, that is not likely to happen. He is going to win the primary.

The more important question is who will come in second and third. There are actually three candidates that have a good chance of coming in second: Rubio, Cruz, Kasic
h and Bush. (In that order according to FiveThirtyEight’s Polls-Plus forecast). This turns out to be a fairly complicated matter, then, when tying to interpret the meaning of New Hampshire going forward. So, I made a chart:

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.14.23 AM

Who will win the Democratic primary?

This is more interesting at this point. We can see from polling data that Sanders is likely to with the NH primary. But the amount he wins by is going to determine a partial answer to that question of viability for him. Meanwhile, if Clinton does better than expectations, she will win kudos for organization and appeal. If Sanders and Clinton come in about as expected, meaning they both show well but Sanders wins, then New Hampshire will be sending roughly the same message as did Iowa: Dear Democrats, you have two viable candidates. Continue with the primary process.

But what is the number and how far off do the final results have to be before we can say someone did better or worse than expectations?

Looking at just the last ten non-partisan polls (ignoring likely voters vs. not likely, because that is part of the ground game) with all these polls overlapping January 20th or later, the Sanders-Clinton breakdown is 56.3-35.6. There is some O’Malley and undecided in there, so the ratio is more important than the number. So, the expectation for Sanders would be about 60%.

This conforms to the most recent polls, so any recent change (to date) is probably captured here. The total range is close to about 10 points.

So, I would argue, using gut instincts and nothing fancy, that Sanders will meet expectations with a percentage anywhere from 50% up. In other words, any level of win by Sanders meets expectations. If he gets more than 65% that may be meaningful, but since he is a) expected to do well and b) the state (within the party) matches him fairly well, I’m not sure how many points he gets.

Conversely, since we are so often asking the question in terms of insurgent Sanders’ viability, if he loses by only a few points, a signal of concern will be sent to his campaign.

Looking at it from Clinton’s point of view, every percentage point below 40% that she achieves will be a mark against her, showing weakness against the insurgent.

One thing is almost certain. New Hampshire will not be splitting hairs. This will not be close. Most likely the New Hampshire results will conform to the current polling, and the result will be that the hypothesis that Sanders can’t be a viable candidate will not be falsified. I’m wording that in a fairly negative way, i.e., a good win in New Hampshire does not push Sanders viability estimate much at all. That sort of outcome is more likely to happen in relation to South Carolina and Nevada.

Not looking at specific numbers yet, if Sanders does not lose by too much in South Carolina, the hypotheses that he will do poorly among African Americans is not supported. If he wins in South Carolina, that hypothesis is in serious trouble.

In Nevada, if I’m reading things correctly, the outcome is likely to be stark, one or the other candidates winning handily, it can be either one or the other, and it will be a signal as to which candidate labor and unions is breaking for. To me, Nevada may be the most important of the first four races. (Aside from the unlikely scenario of the insurgent losing badly in Iowa or New Hampshire, in terms of meaning.)

The reason I say that Nevada will likely break either one way or the other is that I expect the unions to make a relatively unified decision I just don’t know what that decision will be.

Lessons from the Iowa Caucus

Increasingly, I feel the need to declare my position on the candidates before commenting on the process, because, increasingly, the conversation has become one of comparative litmus tests. So, here’s the deal on that: I like Clinton and Sanders both, and I like each of them for both overlapping and different reasons. As a life long Democrat I’m glad to see such good candidates running. I will decide whom to support in the Minnesota Caucus some time after I walk into the building, most likely. Then, later, I will decide which candidate, if any, I might work for during the time between our caucus and the convention, though most likely it will be neither. I don’t have a lot of money to donate to anything, but so far I have split my financial support evenly. After the convention (or a bit before if there is a clear winner a priori) I will do everything I can to move the chosen candidate into the White House, while at the same time working on my Congressional District and state wide races or issues.

The first thing we learned from the Iowa Caucus is that Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate who can win. I didn’t doubt that before, but his showing in Iowa, a statistical tie, demonstrates this. This is not really too important in the big picture, partly because it simply reifies what was already known, and partly because Iowa (and New Hampshire) provide only a part of information needed to think strategically about the process. The way things are set up, we really won’t know until Super Tuesday, I think, how the two candidates stand. South Carolina may tell us something about the alleged demographic disconnect that favors Clinton over Sanders, and Nevada may show us if Unions matter in this election, and who they matter to. But from that perspective (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) it will be very difficult to predict Super Tuesday’s outcome.

But, here’s the thing: Bernie supporters who have shown a great deal of angst and jitteriness, to the point of sometimes acting inappropriately for a Primary, can relax a bit now. Your candidate is for real, we all know this. And best of luck to you and to us all.

At the same time, Clinton supporters who may have viewed Bernie as an anomalous inviable insurgent now know that isn’t true. This should have been obvious all along, but for the doubters, stop doubting.

The second lesson is a bit more complex. On one hand, Clinton should have done better in Iowa, given the demographic match up. This puts Clinton on notice. Every campaign is like a herd of bison moving across the plains, with each bison being unique and likely to go in any of several directions. The efficient campaign tends to ignore the bison that are going in the “right” direction (for that campaign) and focus on those that seem likely to stray. I think Iowa demonstrates that some of Clinton’s bison need to have a good talking to.

On the other hand, the Sanders campaign makes the point that the #FeelTheBern surge will not only carry Sanders past the demographic disconnects he faces, but that it will sprout a long and stable coat tail to bring Congress with him. Did going from an obscure(ish) Senator from an obscure(ish) state to nearly besting The Anointed One (for good reason) in Iowa constitute a Bern-Surge? Or was it not enough? The turnout in Iowa was pretty good, but it was not Obama-esque. To the extent that Obama’s 2008 campaign is a model for a 2016 Sanders campaign, something is lacking here. This may or may not be important.

One test of the surgosity of the Sanders campaign may be South Carolina and Nevada. He is unlikely to win in South Carolina and Nevada is obscure. But if he does way better than expectations, that might mean that the surge if getting fueled (by itself, as surges do). I suppose New Hampshire could also be an indicator. Sanders will likely win that state. Not because New Hampshire and Vermont are clones — they are very different. But because among Democrats, Sanders will be seen as something of a favorite son. (New Hampshire and Vermont share a long border, but most cross-state interconnections, I think, are: Vermont-Update NY, and Vermont-Berkshires/Pioneer Valley, MA; and New Hampshire-Greater Boston Areas.) In any event, if Sanders does better than X percent over Clinton in New Hampshire, that could be a post-Iowa surge-fueling effect. X is probably around 12% .

On the Republican side, there are more lessons than I want or need to discuss, but I’ll mention two. First, as per this item, no matter how out of the box some of this year’s campaigns seem to be (i.e., Trump’s celebrity approach), the political process is a real, living entity that can’t be ignored. Trump risks loss for doing so.

See: Dark Money by Jane Mayer

The other major lesson, I think, is that the field is now much smaller than it used to be. I’m not sure if any of the bottom tier candidates can recover, however, New Hampshire might bring one or two back into the race. But right now, it is looking like Trump-Cruz-Rubio. I’ve seen some convincing commentary that Cruz is actually not viable long term. I don’t know if I believe that, even if I can hope it to be so. So, the Trump Will Burn Out theory says that Rubio is the GOP nominee, and based on overall patterns, likely the next President unless the Democrats pull their heads out of each other’s butts and start focusing on the end game. I suppose it could be worse.

The Huntsman-Santorum Effect: Will Republicans Become Self Aware?

The New Hampshire Primaries are today, and Mitt Romney seems to be holding his strong lead, though there are some interesting changes in the numbers. But that is utterly irrelevant. Let me explain why: Continue reading The Huntsman-Santorum Effect: Will Republicans Become Self Aware?

From Iowa to New Hampshire. What to look for and what it means. (Updated)

We’ll get to the big picture in just a moment, but first a fair well to our home-girl, Michele. Today’s headline could have been Bachmann Moves Ahead “Full Steam” after Iowa Victory … … by the other guy” but in the end, she appears to have dropped out.

It is … difficult to see such a path for Bachmann, given her last-place finish and the fact that her campaign strategy had been premised on a strong launch in Iowa, the state where she was born and where she won the GOP straw poll in Ames in August.

At first her campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, said Bachmann is going ahead “full steam.”*

But hours later she dropped out of the race. And speaking of the race, let’s have a quick look at the final tallies:

Mitt Romney 30,015 (25%)
Rick Santorum 30,007 (25%)
Ron Paul 26,219 (21%)
Newt Gingrich 16,251 (13%)
Rick Perry 12,604 (10%)
Michele Bachmann 6,073 (5%)

John Huntsman also relieved a few votes, so technically, he came in last behind Michele. (See this insightful analysis of the numbers by Pharngula’s PZ Myers.)

And now, the meaning of it all… Continue reading From Iowa to New Hampshire. What to look for and what it means. (Updated)