In the words of former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, “Iowa picks corn and New Hampshire picks presidents”. While he’s clearly biased, New Hampshire is set to play a big role in the 2016 election; I recently came across an article discussing what New Hampshire means for this Presidential Election. If the polls are right, the big winners for today’s primary are going to be Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, although neither candidate seems likely to win the nomination. Both candidates have seem to come out of nowhere from fringe candidates to serious contenders.
Even if New Hampshire isn’t a particularly powerful state, it could have major implications for the Republican race. Whoever takes second place won’t just be a big story tomorrow morning, possibly even earning the GOP nomination. These results will at the very least clarify some important questions and solidify who is going to stay relevant. For all the coverage about Trump and Cruz, the more “establishment” candidates have splintered voters, and whichever one emerges second place in New Hampshire could have a clear advantage going forward.
If the polls are accurate, Trump will win New Hampshire. Yet if he finishes significantly beneath his mark, it will raise some serious questions about the legitimacy of his support base. Trump’s rival Cruz hasn’t focused much on the state, since it isn’t a good state for him; Cruz’s support base among evangelicals and very conservative voters are underrepresented in New Hampshire, and established Republicans in the state, including GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen, have openly expressed their dislike of him.
As a Vermonter, Sanders has a built-in advantage in New Hampshire. Sanders has been doing well in the state from the get-go, and although he seems set to win the state, it might be a bit closer than previously believed in the aftermath of Clinton’s performance in the last debate. Furthermore, the southeastern section of the state – the farthest from Sanders’ Vermont home-base – is the most populous section, and was Clinton’s strongest area in 2008.
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