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What New Hampshire voters are saying about their 2020 choices

New Hampshire voters are heading to the polls Tuesday in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary election. Will the results help to clarify and narrow a crowded field of 2020 Democrats? Lisa Desjardins joins Amna Nawaz from Manchester to discuss how undecided voters are making up their minds, which candidates seem to be attracting attention and the state’s “immense support” for President Trump.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    We get more insights now from the field and our own Lisa Desjardins.

    She joins us from a Bernie Sanders campaign event in Manchester.

    Lisa, it's good to see you.

    Since you're there with team Sanders, let's start right there. He's had some of the state's largest rallies. You have been covering them. We have been seeing them back here. Do you know so far if those crowds at the rallies translate into actual votes?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Such a good question, Amna.

    This crowd right here is hoping this is a victory party tonight. And I'll tell you, the mood is very high among Sanders supporters. And even some non-Sanders supporters right now, Amna, expect he will be the man to win tonight. That doesn't translate into votes necessarily.

    But one thing that does translate into votes, of course, is this idea of getting out the votes. We have seen his enormous rally crowds, as you have said, Amna, but the truth is, much of those rally crowds, talking to them, have been people from out of state who are Bernie Sanders fans.

    That has translated into a large number of volunteers. And today and over the past weekend, those volunteers have been knocking on doors, getting out the votes.

    And I will tell you, I talked to many voters at the polls today. Bernie Sanders voters are two kinds, Amna, one, voting for him because they say he's a consistent politician, fighting for working people, and, two, those who say they're working for him, Amna, interestingly, I heard this a lot today, even though they're not sure he can beat President Trump, but because they believe in him.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa, what about some of these undecided voters that you have been reporting on too? We know a large number of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters were undecided until the very last minute.

    Do you have a sense of which way they were swinging when they finally went to cast their ballots?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    New Hampshire voters are famous for making decisions, even if they're surprising and unpredictable.

    But, Amna, I have been tracking two dozen undecided voters that I have met here. And person after person told me, I'm still deciding.

    I have two who are going into a voting booth right now telling me they're not sure how they're going to vote. I might know by the end of this live shot.

    But when I speak to some of them — I'm seriously watching them type right now.

    It looks like the undecideds are splitting, a large amount of them, for Pete Buttigieg. But I will tell you, I heard more about Elizabeth Warren today than I expected from some undecided voters. And as Judy has been reporting, Amy Klobuchar is on the lips of many, many people here in New Hampshire.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Another thing we have been tracking is, with the sheer number of candidates, there has been a really intense campaigning cycle there.

    We know people in New Hampshire take pride in being some of the first in the country to cast these ballots, help the rest of the country decide which way to go. But what are they telling you about all the attention they have been receiving so far?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    This campaign has been extraordinary, even by New Hampshire standards, because of cell phones, Amna.

    Voters tell me they're getting crushed by cell phone calls and text messages and so many knocks at their door that I had some Sanders volunteers tell me this weekend that they think it was doing more harm than good.

    One thing to keep in mind here is how this vote — state is split. Let's look at a graphic of who the voters are in this state. Look at this. Now, there are almost as many who are declared as Republican and as Democratic, but there are many more voters here who are undeclared. They're independent.

    And, Amna, those are voters that are being targeted by all these campaigns, and they tell me that, frankly, they need it to stop. And it's moving them the other way.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa, we should also mention last night you covered that rally that Judy was reporting on a little while ago of President Trump last night in New Hampshire. He's the man all these candidates say they want to beat in November.

    When you were talking to people there in New Hampshire who like and support this president, what are they telling you right now?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    There is immense support for Donald Trump in this state.

    And, remember, this is a swing state in November. Amna, at that rally, there were such roars of approval. And when you talk to Trump voters here, what they like about this president, they say he's getting things done. And almost to a person, they have all told me, we think he may not be the smoothest. Some people say, we think he's rude.

    One man told me today, I don't want him as my best friend, but I think he's getting things done and I will support him.

    It's — the president's support in this state, no question, is strong.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa, very briefly, before we let you go, we talk a lot about people on the Democratic side of things who are leading the polls.

    Who are you watching for whom tonight is sort of a make-or-break moment when it comes to their campaign?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Well, I think, for Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, no doubt, he's got to perform, he told me, in the top three or four. He's made that public.

    That would be a great stretch for him. I think he may not have much further to go, unless he can have a commanding surprise tonight. I think also a lot of eyes tonight will be on Deval Patrick.

    These are candidates who don't have a lot of money to continue going forward. Tulsi Gabbard, we're watching her closely.

    Now, I think the two businessmen in this race, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, they do have funds to go forward, but they need to start placing higher, not just making the debate stage anymore. That is not enough. You have got to be in the top three to really have a shot at keeping going.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That's our own Lisa Desjardins reporting on the New Hampshire primary taking place today in Manchester for us.

    Lisa, good to talk to you.

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