The polls have been closed for 19 hours now, the winner was long ago announced, 100% of the precincts are reporting, and the exit polls have been compiled. Here are some of the most interesting numbers from yesterday’s GOP New Hampshire Primary:
244,864: The total Republican Primary voter turnout in New Hampshire, roughly 5,000 more than turned out in 2008. While this is technically an increase, it has to be considered that in New Hampshire independents can vote in either party’s primary, meaning inevitably some who voted in last night’s GOP primary voted in the democratic primary in 2008. While it would be very difficult to know just how many enumerate this group, but it is perfectly conceivable that voter turnout was actually down from 2008, a very surprising find. While political fervor is usually down during election cycles involving an incumbent president and this could explain the decline, it is impossible to deny that this has been an entirely unique campaign cycle following an entirely unique 3 years. Thus perhaps the decline could be a nod towards the way New Hampshire’s vote will go in November.
97,532: The number of votes casts by New Hampshire voters for Mitt Romney, the uncontested winner of the evening. This number encompassed 39% of the total vote. In 2008, Romney captured 31% of the vote while winner John McCain took 37%. Looking at those two numbers and taking into account McCain’s recent endorsement of Romney it is a little surprising that Romney received only 39% this year, but with a very unique field there are explanations out there. Disregarding this it’s hard to deny that Romney took command in New Hampshire. This isn’t surprising; taking into account his political roots in New England as the former Governor of Massachusetts and Romney’s stake as the GOP front runner, it was all along his race for the taking.
16%: The gap between Romney and second place finisher Ron Paul. Hugely different than the 8 vote gap between Romney and second place finisher in Iowa, Rick Santorum, although Paul’s 23% is impressive and beyond expectations for the conservative-libertarian stalwart. Romney needed a big result that proved him as a strong and electable GOP candidate to the Republican core and this was it. It is also notable that from the exit polls Romney took nearly 50% of the vote from registered Republicans. These will be key as he moves forward in the primary season to states with less vocal and decisive independent voters than New Hampshire. It must be taken into account with this, however, that by Party ID voters that identified as Democrats most often went for Jon Huntsman, while voters that identified as Independents rallied around Ron Paul. In the general election Romney will need to swing over the Independents and Democrats that put Obama in office, and so far it appears that he has not been able to do this. With more speeches like the one he had last night – the first in which he looked like a legitimate general election candidate – he may be able to begin chipping away at these Americans.
170: The number of events that candidate Jon Huntsman did over 72 days in New Hampshire giving him a disappointing 17% percent of the NH vote. While Huntsman took this and his third place finish in NH as a positive, saying in his speech last night that he now has his “ticket to ride”, it’s hard to deny that it wasn’t quite the result Huntsman was hoping for. He put all of his stakes in the New England state with the hope that the Independent heavy, policy-focused state would launch him into the midst of the field of contenders but was beat out by Ron Paul – who spent far less time and focus on the state – for second place and for the majority of the Independent support. Huntsman asserts that he will continue on to South Carolina and Florida, but it’s impossible to imagine that he will give the performance to stay in for the long-term in either state. It doesn’t help that even comedian Stephen Colbert is polling better than Huntsman in South Carolina.
23,411: The number of votes cast for former Speaker Newt Gingrich, giving him 10% of the New Hampshire vote, and nearly tying him with far more conservative candidate Rick Santorum. This is undoubtedly a disappointing result to the candidate who was just weeks ago leading the pack. This is also a hint that Gingrich’s shift towards highly negative campaigning, largely against winner Mitt Romney, is not working and likely severing Gingrich’s support. Despite this, Gingrich seems adamant to continue with this campaign tactic, even as he denounces negative campaigning on the part of other candidates. Gingrich opened his campaign with promises to stay positive and focused on the issues throughout the race, but desperation has turned him into the politician that was seen earlier in his career: one defined by intellectual harshness, political pandering, dysfunctional hypocrisy.
18-29: The only age bracket that opted to vote for a non-Romney candidate, instead opting towards Ron Paul. Paul’s success is largely dependent on these voters who are often also first time independent voters. Paul – the oldest candidate in the field at 76 – received a commanding 46% of the vote from this demographic, although as voters got older they tended to vote less for Paul. An opposite trend was seen with all other candidates that received large portions of the vote.
39%: The percentage of both college educated and non-college educated voters that voted for Mitt Romney. The Harvard Business and Law educated candidate is often criticized as an elite businessman who is out of touch with real Americans but this result shows the opposite. It is important to note, however, that 87% of voters had a college education, a very large portion in a state more educated than the norm. But…
$200K: Voters who earn $200K a year or more voted for Mitt Romney at a rate of 52%. Compared to this, voters who earn less that $30K voted for him at a rate of 31% while they voted for Ron Paul at 35%. This shows an opposite trend as above, and proves that Romney does indeed have some work to do in getting in touch with average voters. It does not help that in recent days Romney has been blasted by fellow candidate for comments that show him as economically privileged and out of touch.
That’s all for now. 10 days until South Carolina!
- New Hampshire Election Results 2012: Winners And Losers (huffingtonpost.com)
- NH Results May Shape Romney’s Race (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mitt vs Ron (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)