Posted: January 9, 2008 12:30 AM
N.H. Voters Angry with President, Concerned About Economy
New Hampshire voters turned out in record numbers to vote in the state’s critical primary Tuesday, saying they were both angry at President Bush and worried about the state of the economy.
According to projections, the turnout would top 500,000 for both primaries and a record 280,000 voted in the Democratic contest.
For those voters, the issue looming over the ballot appeared to be the economy.
Among the Democrats, some 98 percent of voters said they were worried about the economy. And 87 percent of Democrats rated the economy as not good or poor, according to exit polls. Despite their pessimism, voters said they were more positive about their personal economic circumstances, with 59 percent saying they were holding steady and 14 percent saying they were getting ahead.
Voters on the GOP echoed many of their Democratic colleagues concerns with 79 percent said they were worried about the economy. And just 51 percent rated the nation’s economy as excellent or good, but an overwhelming majority said their family was holding steady financially (58 percent) or getting ahead (21 percent).
“It’s the economy that really trumped everything else,” Amy Walter told the NewsHour Tuesday night.
The record turnout in the Democratic primary may have actually hurt the Obama campaign, according to the exit polls done by news organizations.
“[W]e had all these polls which showed us pretty much the same thing, which was Obama’s consistent movement among independents and the fact that the two candidates were tied among Democrats,” Walter said. “But what we saw in this exit poll though is she opened up a lead among Democrats, who made up about 54 percent of the vote, so she had an 8-point lead among those folks — and among independents, his lead not as big during last pre- primary poll. In the last pre-primary poll, at least from UNH and CNN/WMUR, he had about a 20 point lead among independents, in the exit polling it was 15 points.”
Also core to Clinton’s victory turned out to be the female vote.
“You look in exit polling that came out of Iowa, [Clinton] actually barely beat Barack Obama among married women, I think it was 2 points,” Walter told the NewsHour. “In this case she carried them by 11 points. Fifty-seven percent of the vote came from women, she carried that pretty decisively.”
The underlying undercurrent in both the Democratic and Republican electorate was a level of anger at President Bush.
Almost two-thirds of Democrats polled (65 percent) said they were “angry” with the Bush administration. And almost half of Republicans, (49 percent) said they were angry or dissatisfied with the Bush administration.
The independents split between Obama and McCain and the Republican’s success could have come partly at the expense of the Illinois senator.
If McCain benefited from independent voters, he also scored decisive victories among the more liberal parts of his own party.
“There is a significant difference on ideology [among the Republican turnout],” analyst Stuart Rothenberg told the NewsHour. “McCain lost self-described conservatives to Romney. He won moderates and he won liberals.”