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What can historic maps reveal about next week’s New Hampshire primary?


New Hampshire political history resounds with the names of candidates who used the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary to vault to the White House. Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton.

But what did those primary elections look like in the moment, town by town across New Hampshire? Where, for instance, did Bill Clinton stake out his biggest wins, to ensure a close second-place finish in the 1992 primary (and resurrect his campaign in the process)?

What towns have Republican candidates most consistently relied on to win the state? Can a Democratic candidate win the entire state even if he or she loses its liberal strongholds, like college towns and those along the Vermont border?

To help answer those questions, New Hampshire Public Radio has produced a database of interactive maps illustrating the state’s electoral history (from presidential races on down) dating back to 1970.

You’ll find three of those maps, from 1972, 1992, and 2008, here. Toggle the tabs in the upper left of each map to see Republican and Democratic Primary results by town, and click on any town in any map to see detailed vote tallies. Each offers a different historical lens through which to analyze the vote returns in this year’s race.

1972 Map

1992 Map

2008 Map

On Feb. 9, compare Hillary Clinton’s town-by-town margins as they roll in with how she performed in those towns eight years earlier. Or see in which towns the anti-establishment rabble-rouser Pat Buchanan racked up victories against the incumbent President Bush in 1992, and compare that to Donald Trump’s town tallies this time around.

No matter what race or candidate you’re following, consider these maps a kind of Primary Night cheat sheet.

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