Turnout appears to have broken the state’s record, set during the 2008 election.
As of Wednesday morning, with about 96 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, 293,550 ballots had been recorded, well above the 249,587 votes cast in the last New Hampshire Democratic primary. The state’s previous record for the Democrats primary was 287,556 votes cast in the 2008 race between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and several other prominent candidates.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was victorious on Tuesday night scoring approximately 26 percent of the overall vote, with more than 91 percent of the state’s precincts counted. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were the only other candidates earning convention delegates, garnering about 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
The GOP primary results were less encouraging for Donald Trump, who still managed to handily defeat his opponent.
For months, Trump has claimed again and again to enjoy an “all time high” 95 percent approval rating among Republicans. At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday, Trump also claimed 40,000 to 50,000 had shown up to support him, though the venue capacity was less than 12,000 people.
On Tuesday, Trump received less than 86 percent of the vote, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2016 and has amassed less than one percent of Trump’s war chest for this race, received more than nine percent of the vote.
GOP turnout was also only a little over half of Democratic turnout for the primary. And it was way down from 2016, when Trump faced better-funded opponents than Weld.
As Vox noted on Wednesday, there’s a small caveat in the turnout numbers. New Hampshire voters who aren’t registered with a party are free to vote in whichever primary they choose, but registered Republicans or Democrats “must vote in their respective primaries.” That means Democratic turnout was likely propped up by the relatively noncompetitive Republican race.
“… An NBC News exit poll showed that 43 percent of the Democratic primary electorate in the state were independents, only slightly up from 40 percent in 2016, which would seem to suggest that there wasn’t a big influx of independents who voted on the Republican side in 2016 and switched to the Democrats this time around,” the outlet wrote.
Democrats will vote next in the February 22 Nevada caucuses and the February 29 South Carolina primaries.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
IMAGE: Bernie Sanders smiles after winning at his 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking