50,000 more votes in Democratic Primary than Republican Shows Democratic Wave still Gaining Strength in Granite State
Voters in New Hampshire took to the polls last night and demonstrated that the rout Republicans suffered in the state in 2006 wasn’t an aberration, but the first phase of a Democratic wave that continued to build strength yesterday and now spells big trouble for Republican Senator John Sununu in November.
The turnout results were dramatic – 50,000 more Granite Staters voted in the Democratic primary than the Republican primary, with nearly 280,000 voting in the Democratic race and only 229,000 turning out for Republicans. This was the first time since the establishment of the modern New Hampshire primary system that more people voted in the Democratic primary than the Republican primary when both were contested. Republicans actually turned out 10,000 fewer voters for their primary than in 2000, the last time there was a contested Republican presidential primary in their state. On the Democratic side, there were 125,000 more voters than in the 2000 primary, and 61,000 more voters than the 2004 primary, which was then a Democratic record, largely due to the fact that there was no Republican contest that year.
New Hampshire independents also showed that they are trending Democratic. According to exit polls, in the Democratic primary, 42% of voters were independents, up 1% from 2000, while in the Republican primary, only 34% of voters were registered independents – a 7% drop from 2000.
John Sununu now faces an electorate that produced 50,000 more votes last night for Democratic candidates than he won in his election in 2002, a stunning deficit that shows the extent of the challenge he faces in November. He begins his campaign as the face of the failed status quo in Washington – a Senator who has backed George Bush’s agenda an average of 92% of the time, with a record of opposing change in Iraq, blocking life saving cures from stem cell research, and standing against a sensible energy policy while supporting tax breaks for big oil companies. And he does it in a state that showed last night that it is tired of the status quo. New Hampshire voters clearly want change in Washington, and in November they can deliver it by electing Jeanne Shaheen.