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