Perspectives, News & Opinions From The Researchers At Edison

More on the New Hampshire Turnout, And Its Implications

Entry by Tom Webster | Thursday, January 10th, 2008 | Permalink

The nearly final turnout numbers from New Hampshire show 287,849 total voters in the Democratic primary and 238,909 total voters in the Republican primary. The Democratic Primary turnout beats the 2004 record by almost 70,000 and the Republican Primary turnout just edged the Republican turnout in 2000 by a few hundred votes. Combined, it beats the previous presidential primary (2000) record by more than 130,000. In fact, the 526,758 total voters beat what you typically see in an off-year general election for governor in New Hampshire (417,000 in 2006 and 453,000 in 2002). It even came close to the 578,638 total voters in the 2000 Bush-Gore general election, so it is kind of phenomenal.

So how did this extraordinary turnout break down by the party registration of the voters? As most followers of the New Hampshire Primary know, those who are registered Undeclared in New Hampshire have the choice to vote in either primary. New Hampshire also is one of a handful of states which allow same day registration on election day. The Edison exit polls show that the Democratic Primary consisted of 52% Registered Democrats, 42% Registered Undeclareds and 6% Election Day Registrants; the Republican Primary consisted of 61% Registered Republicans, 34% Registered Undeclareds and 5% Election Day Registrants.

Applying those numbers to the final turnout you get approximately the following picture of the combined electorate:


turnout.006.png

So in the end, roughly the same number of Registered Democrats and Registered Republicans participated in the primary even though there are slightly more Registered Republicans (256,353) than Registered Democrats (221,549) in the entire state.

But the key statistic is that by a 60-40 margin Undeclareds and Election Day Registrants chose to vote in the Democratic primary over the Republican primary. This margin resembles the 57D 39R split in the vote for U.S. House among Independents that we measured in our national exit poll in 2006. A continuation of this 60-40 split among Independents is a good sign for the Democrats as the Presidential election year unfolds.

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