As the polls close in the Granite state, the citizens of New Hampshire have spoken with their feet by pulling the lever for either the GOP or Democratic candidates for president. Projections by the Associated Press indicate that Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has garnered a convincing victory, as was entirely expected by political pundits from across the spectrum.
New Hampshire law requires polls to be open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. but each town and city sets its own hours for the primaries. As a result some towns stayed open until 8 p.m. and footage showed long lines of voters are certain polling locations
Sanders who won 57% of the vote is a US Senator from neighboring Vermont and is a favorite among blue collar workers in northern New Hampshire. Championing such issues as income inequality, campaign finance reform and healthcare overhaul, Sanders has called his campaign a “political revolution” and has boasted that his contributions come from individual donors rather than Wall Street interests.
Hillary Clinton's campaign had been setting low expectations in New Hampshire for weeks, noting Sanders' long career in a neighboring state. She earned 41% of the Democratic vote.
Leading the national polls for months with double digit figures, Donald Trump was also expected to win handily in New Hampshire, with GOP hopefuls Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz expected to take the second and third slots. Trump sailed to victory with 57% of the vote followed by Ohio Governor John Kasich at 17% and Florida governor Jeb Bush at 12%.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio looked to be gaining momentum and was picking up endorsement after endorsement earlier this week. But he stumbled badly in Saturday night's debate, creating an opening for other so-called establishment lane candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to the AP report.
Politicians and observers have questioned whether the New York billionaire could translate his populist appeal into electoral success, as he came in second in the Iowa caucuses. Trump’s campaign has tapped into the increasing anger among Americans, especially Republicans, with what they perceive as corruption and gridlock in Washington. According to those exit polls, Republicans said the economy, government and terrorism were their top issues of concern.
For Democrats, the issues of paramount importance for them were income inequality, the economy and health care.
New Hampshire voters have a tradition of deciding late in the primary process. Exit polls conducted by media organizations Tuesday indicate that trend is alive and well, at least on the Republican side. Nearly half of GOP voters said they made their minds up within the past few days.
Less than a quarter of Democrats told pollsters they made up their mind in recent days, though, which could be good news for Sanders.