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January 8, 2008

A Big Turnout In New Hampshire?

Turnout for the first primary election of the season has gotten so large that some precincts have run out of Democratic ballots. That bodes ill for both Hillary Clinton, who may see a rerun of Iowa's caucuses in a large independent turnout. It could also spell trouble for a Republican:

New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan told ABC News that turnout is "absolutely huge, and towns are starting to get concerned that they don't have enough ballots."

Scanlan voted Tuesday morning, and said the line in his polling location in Concord, the state capital, was "out the door."

Turnout was particularly high in Portsmouth and Keene -- both of which are overwhelingly Democratic, as well as Republican-leaning Hudson -- And some towns were running out of Democratic ballots, with independents favoring that contest over the GOP race.

At this point is heavier than it was four years ago -- a positive sign for Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., both of whom are depending on large numbers of independent voters to back them in their primary races.

It certainly spells trouble for Hillary. She polls better than Barack Obama among the party's base, but Obama shines among independents and younger voters, the latter of whom rarely turn out in large numbers. If the youth vote gets activated as it did in Iowa, it means a big day for Obama and a potentially embarrassing finish for the long-time Democratic frontrunner. It could even threaten her with another third-place finish, as Edwards also polls better among younger voters than Hillary.

Conventional wisdom has McCain benefitting from a big turnout -- but in this open primary, that depends on the behavior of independents. If most of them decide to cast their votes in the Democratic primary, McCain could find himself struggling. He appeals more to independent Granite State voters, who appreciate his maverick tendencies. If he can't get a big enough boost from independents, he may slip out of the lead while Romney collects the Republican votes. It could change the entire dynamic of McCain's rise over the last few weeks -- which may wind up benefitting Obama instead.

I'll be blogging through the evening on New Hampshire's results. Be sure to stay right here at Captain's Quarters as the evening progresses.


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» New Hampshire Says: “Live Free Or Die… OR… Give Us Another Neocon… And We Don’t Care Which Side Of The Aisle They Hail From!”… from The Gun Toting Liberal™
“What”?, you ask, incredulously. “Hillary? A freaking NEOCON? She’s a Democrat! Are you out of your GOURD, GTL??? Hill’s no NEOCON!” No. I’m NOT out of my gourd. Sir Hillary Rodham Clinton IS, INDEED, a ... [Read More]

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