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An early night! With first and second place settled in both the Democratic and Republican races, we’re putting a bow on our New Hampshire primary live blog relatively early. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, will likely go down as a historic day in American electoral politics. Trump and Sanders, separately, represent powerful currents in the electorate, and New Hampshire voters have done their best to prolong the 2016 nominating contests: Cruz, Bush and Rubio are all muddled together with 10 percent to 12 percent of the New Hampshire vote. They will finish, in some order, third, fourth and fifth. We’re also likely to see several Republican candidates drop out over the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, Sanders has a big win, but he will now have to compete in two states, Nevada and South Carolina, with much less friendly demographics. That is all to say: We’re going to have a lot more coverage of tonight’s results in the days ahead. Thanks for hanging out. ’Night!
(UPDATE, Feb. 10, 2:17 a.m.): Nate, Clare, Harry and Jody recorded a late-night podcast with some thoughts on the results. Listen to it below, or subscribe in your favorite podcast player.
One of my favorite cross-tabulations in the exit poll is its breakdown of when voters made their final decision. In Iowa, Trump faded substantially among late deciders, leading to his second-place finish. Presumably he did better in New Hampshire? Well, sort of. In the table below, which is derived from the exit poll, I’ve grouped voters who decided “just today” or within the last few days into the “late decider” group and those who made a decision “in the last month” or “before that” into the “early decider” group. The results suggest that Trump didn’t do particularly well among late deciders, winning 22 percent of their votes. But he had a lot of voters who were loyal to him from the start:
|CANDIDATE||EARLY DECIDERS||LATE DECIDERS|
What about Rubio? Presumably Saturday night’s debate cost him a lot of support? Yes, probably, although overall Rubio actually did slightly better among late deciders (12 percent) than early ones (9 percent). What may have happened is that voters who initially were intrigued by Rubio after Iowa backed away from him after the debate; the 11 percent or so of the vote he’ll get tonight is close to where he was in pre-Iowa polls of New Hampshire.
Fiorina and Carson are projected to finish a distant seventh and eighth, respectively, in New Hampshire. Despite their poor finish today, they have the support between them of about one in nine Republican voters nationally: In our latest national polling average, Fiorina had 2.5 percent and Carson 8.3 percent. So what happens if they drop out of the race? Cruz probably would benefit more than Trump would.
The online pollsters at Morning Consult added up results from January polls it conducted among 5,456 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationally, asking for their first and second choices among the candidates. So far Morning Consult has published second-choice data for supporters of candidates who have already dropped out. They shared with us the data for Carson and Fiorina. Among Carson supporters, 24 percent had Cruz as their second choice, 19 percent named Trump and 10 percent named Rubio. Fiorina had far fewer supporters, but they might be higher leverage: 23 percent said they supported Rubio, 14 percent named Cruz and 5 percent named Trump. (Another 18 percent named Carson, and in this scenario those supporters would need to go to their third choice, or maybe skip voting.) Of course, these polls preceded the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, and voters’ second choices could be even more volatile than their first choices are.
It’s not clear yet whether Christie will end his campaign. As I wrote earlier, Christie has been perhaps the most consistent Republican in the debates. He’s also a strong retail campaigner, which was evident here in New Hampshire. But Christie’s liabilities, from Bridgegate to his periodic deviations from conservative orthodoxy, were formidable also. He had plenty of opportunity to break out in New Hampshire and instead faded toward the end. It just doesn’t look like voters are buying what Christie is selling.
And the correct answer is … sell Trump.
Think I’d buy Rubio, but that’s probably because I didn’t watch the whole debate.
I’m selling Trump, Nate.
I’d buy Cruz.
If I sold Christie for a penny I’d probably get a tenth of a penny in return. So, I guess then sell Rubio.
I was gonna buy Kasich until he told me to hug people at the mall.
OK, all, here are the current betting market odds for the GOP nomination right now, per PredictWise (as of 10:20 p.m.). You get one buy OR one sell. Just one. Who is it?
Regarding the big remaining questions: I will be very curious to see how younger black voters break. If Clinton is currently winning black voters and young Democrats/independents are leaning toward Sanders, I wonder if the assiduous courtship of the #BlackLivesMatter generation will work.
Until tonight, Kasich did not receive much attention as a presidential candidate, which he even joked about early in his “victory” speech (Kasich placed a distant second to Trump).
Kasich’s speech was a good example of how unusual his message is in this campaign; he’s really been the only candidate, left or right, to talk about political polarization, saying that all Americans are ultimately in it together. Although such bipartisanship is admirable and might play well in a general election, it may not help Kasich persuade GOP primary voters to back him.
Yeah, there are four people now competing for the not-Trump spot on the Republican side, and IMO the concept of “lanes” has gone to hell. Cruz, Kasich, Bush and Rubio are all in the same lane. That lane is otherwise known as “getting the nomination.”
The other big question, on the Democratic side, is what will minority voters do? But we won’t get that answer tonight.
Who is going to be the anti-Trump? Will there be multiple anti-Trumps? You can’t have four of them. You can probably have, at most, two. I think one of those is Cruz, but who is the other one? (If there even is another one.)
What are the big questions we’re still looking for answers to tonight?
David, I dare say Clinton’s coalition is starting to look a little bit like Obama’s. That is, wealthier white voters and black voters. If, however, Clinton loses black voters to Sanders, then she’s in a world of trouble. There’s no sign she’s losing those voters yet, though.
Surprise, surprise: Some of Clinton’s best towns (perhaps more accurate: least worst towns) tonight were some of her weakest towns in 2008. It looks like she’s taken 46 percent in Exeter, 43 percent in Portsmouth and 43 percent in Concord. Most surprisingly, there’s even one report she took 47 percent in Hanover, home to Dartmouth College (this has not yet been reported by the AP). Clinton appears to be doing better with academic types in New Hampshire this time, but has cratered with rural and blue collar Democrats.
In their book “Why Iowa?” David Redlawsk, Caroline Tolbert and Todd Donovan argue that early contests allow candidates to demonstrate viability and electability — they show voters in later contests that they can win the nomination and be competitive for the general election.
Tonight’s victories have probably done a lot for perceptions of viability for Sanders and Trump. But what about electability? I’ve argued before that Trump might be more electable than he seems. Maybe that’s true of Sanders too. But, based on my experience studying political rhetoric, I’m not sure either of these speeches sounded like a successful general election candidate quite yet. We probably want to see some more contests — in more populous and diverse states — before the electability question is resolved.
Just as he was during his concession speech in Iowa, Trump was a standard, polite politician during his New Hampshire victory speech — for the first couple of minutes, anyway. As Farai pointed out, the transition came — with normal Trump un-subtlety — with, “Now that I got that over with!”
Then Trump took a more Trumpian path: He’ll strengthen the border, rebuild the military, preserve the Second Amendment and make America great again “the good ol’ fashioned way” — because he has friends, because he loves his supporters and because his supporters love him.
The next two states to vote in the Democratic primary are Nevada and South Carolina. (Nevada votes before South Carolina for Democrats; the reverse is true for Republicans.) In both cases, there’s been a conspicuous absence of polling: Nevada hasn’t been polled since December, and South Carolina was polled a few times in January but hasn’t been surveyed since Iowa. Still, one thing that’s clear is that the terrain is going to be tougher for Sanders from here forward. Here are the current FiveThirtyEight polling averages for Clinton and Sanders in all of the states where we’re keeping track of them.
Sanders has a bright spot in Wisconsin, and Ohio and California look better for him than some of the other states. But he starts way behind Clinton in most other places and will need a lot of momentum out of tonight.
|CANDIDATE||TOTAL VOTES||VOTE PERCENTAGE|