WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary after convincing voters that he was more honest and trustworthy than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to early results of the exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.
Asked which of the two candidates is honest and trustworthy, nearly half said they thought only Sanders is, and nearly all of them voted for him. Few voters said only Clinton is honest and trustworthy while about 4 in 10 said both of the Democrats had those traits.
Clinton struggled similarly last week in Iowa’s caucuses among people who said that honesty was an important issue to them.
About 3 in 10 say only Sanders shares their values, while just over 1 in 10 say only Clinton does. Half said both candidates share their values.
A closer look at the mood of the electorate:
ANGER, BETRAYAL AND OUTSIDERS
Voters in New Hampshire’s primary are deeply unhappy with the federal government, with half of Democratic voters saying they’re dissatisfied with the way government is working and another 1 in 10 saying they’re angry. That’s even higher among Republican primary voters, with nearly half saying they’re dissatisfied and 4 in 10 that they’re angry. Those who said they’re angry were particularly likely to vote for Donald Trump.
Republicans are much more negative about their politicians than Democrats are about theirs. Half of Republicans said they feel betrayed by politicians from the Republican Party, while less than 2 in 10 Democrats say they feel betrayed by Democratic politicians.
Republican voters say they are more interested in nominating a candidate from outside the political establishment than Democrats. Republicans are evenly divided: nearly half preferred someone with experience and about the same number say they favored an outsider. Although the vast majority of Democrats said the preferred a candidate with political experience, those who did not broke decidedly in favor of Sanders.
New Hampshire primary voters’ independent streak often sets them apart from voters in other states, but they appear to be less of a factor this time around.
When President Barack Obama was running for re-election in 2012 and there was no contested Democratic primary, self-identified independents made up nearly half (47 percent) of the Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was running against Obama, 44 percent of Democratic primary voters said they were independent.
On Tuesday, there were slightly fewer independents at either primary. About 4 in 10 Republican voters identified themselves as independent as did just about as many Democratic voters.
LATE DECIDERS, FIRST-TIMERS
Seventy percent of GOP voters made up their minds this month, and 3 in 10 of them voted for Trump. But Trump had a big advantage among those who made up their minds earlier, with half saying they voted for him.
More than 8 in 10 Republicans and Democrats casting ballots on Tuesday say they’ve voted in previous primaries. On the GOP side, 3 in 10 of both newcomers and voting veterans favored Trump.
Among Democrats, more than half who’ve voted before favored Sanders, as did 8 in 10 primary newcomers.
About three-quarters of GOP voters say they’re very worried about the economy, while 6 in 10 say they’re very worried about terrorism. Democrats were less likely to be very worried about either.
Three in 10 Republican voters say the economy is the most important issue facing the country. That’s slightly more than said so of government spending and terrorism. Less than 2 in 10 said immigration was the top issue. Two-thirds of GOP voters say they support a temporary ban on non-citizen Muslims entering the United States.
Three in 10 Democratic primary voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country, while a similar share said income equality was most important.
About a third of Republican voters said the most important quality in a candidate is someone who shared their values, more than said so of any other quality in a candidate. But it was the 2 in 10 voters who said they wanted a candidate who “tells it like it is” who propelled Trump’s victory, with more than 6 in 10 supporting him.
A third of Democratic voters valued honesty, more than said they wanted a candidate with experience, one who cares about people like them, or who preferred someone who could win in November.
Even so, most voters in both primaries said they made their vote decisions based on candidates’ positions on issues rather than personal qualities.
The voters in New Hampshire have grown apart ideologically over the past several presidential elections. Four years ago, 53 percent of voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary described themselves as conservative. On Tuesday, 7 in 10 voters in the Republican primary said they were conservative.
Similarly, 56 percent of voters in the 2008 Democratic primary said their political ideology was liberal; on Tuesday two-thirds of Democratic voters consider themselves liberal.
The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 44 randomly selected sites in New Hampshire. Preliminary results include interviews with 2,078 Democratic primary voters and 1,873 Republican primary voters and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.