Voting has started in the New Hampshire primary. Check back for updates throughout the day.
Exit poll: New Hampshire Democratic primary voters prioritize electability over issues
Most New Hampshire voters participating in the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary Tuesday are “angry” with the Trump administration, support a Medicare-for-All style health care plan, and think the nominee’s most important quality is the ability to beat President Donald Trump in November, according to an exit poll conducted for CNN and other television networks.
Surveys of voters taken before polls closed in the Granite State provide an early indication of what’s motivating people as they fill out their ballots.
The exit poll, conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, are based on interviews conducted throughout the day with 1,947 randomly selected Democratic primary voters at 45 wards in New Hampshire. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Among their findings:
- Nearly half who say they decided on their candidate did so only in the past few days, a sign of how in flux the Democratic field is.
- About half said Friday’s debate in Manchester was an important factor in deciding their vote for president.
- By a roughly 2-1 margin, voters said they are looking for a candidate who can beat President Trump over one who agrees with them on the issues, echoing similar trends found in previous voter surveys.
- Eight in 10 say they’re “angry” about the Trump administration.
- About four in 10 cited health care as the most important issue, and six in 10 said they could support a single-government plan, such as Medicare for All, a program outed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Climate change was the next most often cited issue with about 3 in 10 naming it their top concern.
The exit polls also showed two trends that could be warning signs for Sanders, according to MS-NBC
About a third of voters were 65 or older, compared to only 11% between 18 and 29. In addition, about four in 10 identified themselves as moderates or conservatives compared to about two in ten who called themselves “very liberal.”
Progressives and younger voters have been the core of Sanders’ support.
– Ledyard King
Trump says he’d like to run against ‘lightweight’ Bloomberg
President Donald Trump offered his thoughts on the Democratic presidential field on Tuesday just a couple of hours before polls closed in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Trump mocked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as “lightweight” and accused him of trying to buy the Democratic nomination.
“He’s also one of the worst debaters I’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
Trump said he’d rather face Bloomberg in November than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Sanders has real followers,” Trump said. “Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not – I happen to think it’s terrible what he says – but he has followers. Bloomberg is just buying his way in.”
Asked about former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, Trump said: “It’s stumbling. It’s mumbling. Not pretty.”
But Trump said he thought Biden still had time to turn his campaign around.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Trump said, but “I think he can turn it around. I think he has a shot. He’s got probably almost as good a shot as anyone. But he’s going to have to work very hard – much harder than they thought.”
– Michael Collins
Democratic strategists will be watching closely after muddled Iowa results
All eyes will be on participation in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary as Democratic strategists wrestle with the consequential uncertainty of whether voters are already tuning out with nine months left on the election calendar.
Lower-than-expected participation in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and arena-packed crowds at President Donald Trump’s rallies that have eclipsed those of his rivals – including one on the eve of the New Hampshire primary – have rattled some and undermined the early narrative that Democrats are so energized after losing in 2016 that they’re ready to show up in droves in 2020.
The Granite State’s participation in Tuesday’s primary could portend whether Democrats are facing the same enthusiasm headwinds that worked against Hillary Clinton four years ago.
“Democrats can’t just take it for granted that we’ll have an enthusiasm advantage in November,” said Josh Schwerin with Priorities USA Action, a political action committee that supports Democratic candidates. “Just having Trump on the ballot isn’t enough.”
A higher turnout in New Hampshire would allay concerns over the challenges facing Democrats in November, including a strong economy and volatility in their own field. But strategists warn it’s still early in the primary process, and the entire dynamic could change as the field begins to narrow and Democrats coalesce around a candidate.
Read more on whether the Democrats face an enthusiasm gap as they prepare to take on Trump.
– Courtney Subramanian and John Fritze
Warren volunteers remain confident
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Needing a strong performance in her neighboring state that overperforms her sagging projections, Elizabeth Warren thanked supporters outside a voting site here Tuesday afternoon, telling them, “We’re going to do this together.”
Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, arrived to chants of “Big structural change” and “Just two cents” from dozens of her followers outside Webster Elementary School north of downtown Manchester. “We love you, Elizabeth!” one woman yelled. The senator took turns taking selfies as she greeted a line of fans that led to the school’s front-door.
“Fighting back is an act of patriotism,” Warren said to one man who called her a patriot. “That’s right!” he responded.
Warren ignored questions from reporters asking what a victory looks like Tuesday and whether she needs to win the state.
At one time, Warren was considered a strong contender in New Hampshire given its proximity to Massachusetts. But now many polls have her in fourth place, surpassed most recently by the surging Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Any finish lower than the top two would raise questions about the long-term viability of her campaign – but the campaign is already pushing back.
“After New Hampshire tonight, 98% of pledged delegates will still be up for grabs,” Warren’s campaign manager Roger Lau wrote in a campaign memo released ahead of election night. “And as the race consolidates after Super Tuesday, we expect the results to show that Elizabeth Warren is the consensus choice of the widest coalition of Democrats in every corner of the country.”
Warren’s volunteers outside the Manchester polling site said they still have confidence she can win the nomination.
“Not at all,” said Colin Pio, a Warren volunteer from Manchester, when asked whether he has concerns about her poll numbers. “Look, I worked for Hillary Clinton here in 2008. We woke up on election morning and she was down 10 points and she ended up winning. Who knows what’s going to happen?
“Frankly, I think this race is going to go on for months after months at this point. This is the tip of the iceberg.”
MaryRose Mazzola, a campaign volunteer from Boston, touted Warren’s ground game and said Warren historically outperforms her polling. She’s hopeful she can finish at least third in New Hampshire.
“Especially with third place wide open, I think she has a great shot at it,” said Mazzola, who is chief of staff for Massachusetts state Sen. Barry Finegold, a Democrat from Andover, Massachusetts.
“The chaos in Iowa has kind of led to the race continuing to be wide open,” Mazzola said. She’s a unique candidate. You see the polling where she’s a lot of people’s second as well as first choice. So, I think third would be strong and could translate, get the fundraising back up and could really spread across the country.”
– Joey Garrison
Biden will leave New Hampshire earlier than expected to go to South Carolina
WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Joe Biden will leave New Hampshire earlier than expected Tuesday to go campaign in South Carolina.
Ahead of what could be a lower finish in the Granite State, the Biden campaign announced he and his wife Jill Biden would leave New Hampshire following the conclusion of the primary, opting out of a planned event in Nashua, and travel to South Carolina.
The Bidens will instead attend a launch party with campaign co-chair Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., and address New Hampshire supporters in a livestream. According to the campaign, Joe Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens would thank New Hampshire campaign supporters in person.
In a statement, Biden said he had “enjoyed traveling across New Hampshire” but was “looking forward to traveling to South Carolina this evening and Nevada later this week” to hear from diverse voters. The South Carolina primary is Feb. 29.
‘I’ll probably take a hit here’:Biden faces big test in New Hampshire, where he’s struggling in polls
According to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden told reporters he was “mildly hopeful here in New Hampshire” shortly after his campaign announced the change in scheduling.
The primary electorates in South Carolina and Nevada, the next two states to hold Democratic presidential primaries, are more diverse than those in New Hampshire and Iowa. Biden has maintained stronger poll numbers among minorities as he has slipped in national polls.
A national Monmouth University poll released today showed Biden dropping 14 percentage points nationally since last month, from 30% to 16%, and the RealClearPolitics average of New Hampshire polls has him tied for fourth place in the state with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
– Nicholas Wu
‘Having Trump on the ballot isn’t enough:Democrats battle to rev up enthusiasm for November
New Hampshire voters look to Sanders, Klobuchar, Buttigieg as they seek nominee to take on Trump
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., appeared to be the most popular choice among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters leaving Parker Varney School, set in a middle-class neighborhood in west Manchester, Tuesday afternoon.
But Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who has shot up in polls in recent days in New Hampshire, had converts as well.
Leaving the polls, Marilyn Muir, 88, said she decided to vote for Klobuchar following her strong televised debate performance Friday.
“She was so determined and so honest,” said Muir, who is retired. “That’s what I felt. Up to then, I hadn’t determined who I would vote for. It was between her and Biden, but I went for her.”
Muir voted for Sanders, who is 78, in 2016 but said she has concerns with his age this year. “He’d be good except that he’s too old. That’s a stress on a man that age.”
But Sean Karkos, a 29-year-old attorney, said he voted for Sanders last time and again Tuesday.
“I’ve been a supporter of his since the last election, and I haven’t seen any change in his policies or what he’s arguing for.”
He cited Sanders’ progressive causes – closing the wealth gap, pushing for equal rights and his backing of a Green New Deal – as issues that appeal to him as a voter.
“I’m confident he can beat Donald Trump. Fortunately, I think most of the people running today could.”
Sanders, who leads all the latest polls, is the overwhelming favorite to win Tuesday’s primary. He won New Hampshire in the 2016 primary by 22 percentage points. But Klobuchar has rapidly surged in the state in recent days, while former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has enjoyed a big post-Iowa bounce as well.
Mike Barber, a former construction worker who also voted for Sanders, said he almost switched to Klobuchar at the last second, but opted to back Sanders as he did in 2016.
“I just like his passion. I like some of the things he says,” Barber, 56, said.” I don’t agree with everything he says. He just hits my instincts. I think he’s the man. People ask if he can stick up in a general election to Trump. But I absolutely think he can. That’s my biggest concern right now.”
“Socialist this, socialist that,” Barber said, dismissing criticism that Sanders is too far to the left to defeat Trump. “But he can’t do anything without Congress’s help.”
Chad Johansen, 27, a self-described moderate who voted for Sanders, backed Sanders in the 2016 primary but voted for Trump in the general election over Hillary Clinton.
“I’m a small business owner, so a lot of people focus on some of his plans that are going to increase taxes,” said Johansen, who owns a phone and tablet repair shop. “But a big thing for me is the struggle to find good reliable help especially with health care. The way it is today, I can’t compete as a small business owner with what these larger businesses can offer for health benefits.”
He said he found common ground in some of Sanders’ and Trump’s positions back in 2016, but has regret for voting for Trump. He called it “Trump-gret,” and plans to “most likely” support the Democratic nominee against Trump regardless of who that is.
“Some people like the way he acts, but I think it’s childish and he needs to keep things professional as the president of the United States.”
– Joey Garrison
Buttigieg defends electability as New Hampshire votes
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended his electability in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday as voters cast their ballots in New Hampshire’s primary election.
Polls have consistently shown Buttigieg with little backing among African-Americans, a group whose support former Vice President Joe Biden has touted as evidence he is best suited to become the nominee of a party that prides itself on diversity.
But Buttigieg argued that a good performance in New Hampshire, on the heels of his apparent win in the Iowa caucuses – The Associated Press has still not called that race – will give him a boost with minority voters.
“Voters of color who are laser focused on defeating this president, more than anything else, want to know that you can actually win,” Buttigieg said. He said the positive results from the first two contests have given his campaign “the look that we now need as we will travel directly to states like Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states that have a lot of racial diversity and where we can make that case eye-to-eye.”
– William Cummings
Voting has started in the New Hampshire primary
The first votes in the first-in-the-nation primary were cast just after midnight in three small New Hampshire towns on Tuesday.
In Dixville Notch, where midnight voting became a tradition in 1960, the town’s remaining five residents delivered a surprise victory for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with three write-in votes (one from a registered Republican). The town’s other two votes were split by Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
In the nearby town of Millsfield, WMUR reported that most of the residents cast their ballots in the Republican primary, with 16 voting for the incumbent, President Donald Trump, and one for former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota received two votes, doubling the totals of Buttigieg, Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, who got one vote each.
‘I’ll probably take a hit here’:Biden faces big test in New Hampshire, where he’s struggling in polls
Klobuchar also dominated in the town of Hart’s Location with six votes, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts got four, entrepreneur Andrew Yang three and Sanders two. Biden, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and billionaire Tom Steyer each got one vote, according to the town’s website. On the Republican side, Trump got 15 votes while Weld got four and self-described “states’ rights maniac” Mary Maxwell got one.
According to New Hampshire law, the polls in those three towns can close as soon as every registered resident has voted. The website for Hart’s Landing boasted that the polls there opened at midnight and closed at 12:04 a.m., with the results posted by 12:33.
“We’re off to a great start in New Hampshire today!” Klobuchar tweeted, touting her success in the small sample from the midnight votes.
– William Cummings
What to know about today’s New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primaries are finally upon us — just eight days after chaos surrounding the release of Iowa’s Democratic caucus results.
The primaries began at midnight — a tradition in the township of Dixville Notch — and will stay open in most places until 7 p.m. ET.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont heads into Tuesday’s primary as a frontrunner after leading several recent state polls. The momentum follows his finish in the Iowa caucuses, were he earned the most raw vote support and was in the top two in state delegate equivalents.
‘Stakes are incredibly high’:New Hampshire voters feel the pressure as primary looms
Sanders also has a home-field advantage in New Hampshire: his home state of Vermont is a neighbor, and neighbors have fared well in previous Granite State primaries. Plus, he’s won New Hampshire before. In 2016, Sanders took 60% of the vote in the Democratic primary, compared to his rival Hillary Clinton at 37%.
Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg also heads into Tuesday with momentum from the Hawkeye State. He leads Iowa in state delegate equivalents (the marker traditionally used to declare a winner) and the party has stated he received the most national delegates, though no winner has officially been declared. He has shot to second place in several New Hampshire polls, and could pick up undecided voters, of which there are still many.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who finished third in Iowa and is from the neighboring state of Massachusetts, has fallen slightly in polling ahead of Tuesday. Once seen as a frontrunner in some early states, some recently polling has seen her fall out of the top 3. She will be looking for a surge of enthusiasm in New Hampshire.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is seeing a late surge in the state, coming in at third in several of the most recent state polls. She also could benefit from the number undecided New Hampshire voters.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, however, has been lowering expectations in the state, after his fourth-place finish in Iowa. Biden on Friday during the Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire said, “I’ll probably take a hit here.” His campaign is pointing to the upcoming elections in Nevada and South Carolina, where he holds a lead in polling.
On the Republican side, President Donald Trump is expected to win handily over challenger former Gov. Bill Weld. Polling has show Trump with a substantial margin of support, and he overwhelming won the Iowa Republican caucus.
The New Hampshire primary is only the second voting contest in the election of a party nominee, but it holds an outsize influence: No Democrat since the 1970s has places lower than second in New Hampshire and become the nominee.In addition, those who finish at top in the state will likely benefit from media attention and fundraising before the Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primaries.
Check back for updates throughout the day.