Politics

Dissecting the New Hampshire Primary Vote

by Joseph Carroll

Who plans to vote for the different Republican, Democratic hopefuls?

PRINCETON, NJ -- The USA Today/Gallup New Hampshire primary election poll finds Illinois Sen. Barack Obama leading his rivals for the Democratic Party nomination, while Arizona Sen. John McCain has a slight edge over former Gov. Mitt Romney among New Hampshire Republicans. Obama, with a 13-point lead in the poll, does no worse than tie as the leader among all key subgroups of likely Democratic primary voters. Meanwhile, independent voter support is a key for McCain, who also owes his lead to his perceived strength in leadership skills and in dealing with terrorism.

The following analysis is based on the results from the Jan. 4-6, 2008, poll of 778 likely Democratic New Hampshire primary voters and 776 likely Republican New Hampshire primary voters.

On the Democratic side,

  • Men are substantially more likely to say they plan to vote for Obama (49%) rather than Hillary Clinton (20%) in the New Hampshire primary, but among women, Obama maintains only a two-point lead over Clinton, 36% to 34%. Women are clearly one of Clinton's core support groups.
  • While Obama is the top contender among Democratic voters of any age group, his support is much higher among voters under 50 years of age than it is among those 50 and older.
  • Obama also fares well among upscale voters in New Hampshire, with his support higher among those with higher levels of education and at higher household income levels.
  • Obama is also particularly strong among registered independents -- 46% say they support him, compared with 25% for Clinton and 19% for John Edwards. Among registered Democrats, Obama also leads Clinton, but by eight points.
  • New Hampshire voters who say the war in Iraq or the economy is the most important issue to their vote this week are more likely to support Obama than Clinton or Edwards. But Clinton maintains a slim two-point advantage over Obama among those who say healthcare is the top issue in determining their vote.
  • Voters who say the candidates' leadership skills are more important in determining their vote in this year's presidential primary plan to vote for Obama by a large margin. Those who say the candidates' issue positions are more important are about equally divided in their support for Obama (31%), Clinton (26%), and Edwards (27%).

On the Republican side,

  • McCain is the top choice among Republican men in New Hampshire; his lead is nine points over second-place Mitt Romney. McCain and Romney tie among women, each with 32% of the vote.
  • Younger Republican voters (under age 50) are about equally likely to say they would vote for McCain as for Romney, but among older Republican voters (aged 50 and older), McCain has a significant lead, with Romney in second.
  • McCain and Romney are roughly tied among Republican voters without college degrees. McCain leads other Republican candidates among college graduates and those with postgraduate educations.
  • If McCain manages to win New Hampshire, it will be because of the independent voter. Among registered Republicans, McCain (32%) and Romney (31%) are evenly matched. But McCain has a clear advantage among independents, with 40% of these "undeclared" voters saying they would vote for him, compared with 25% for Romney.
  • Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist minister, fares best among New Hampshire Republican voters who attend church every week, but still trails McCain and Romney among this group. McCain's support is slightly higher among those who rarely or never go to church, as is the case for Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani.
  • The majority of Republican voters who say illegal immigration is their top vote issue this year (55%) say they plan to vote for Romney. McCain bests Romney and the other leading Republicans on terrorism and the economy.
  • Voters who say the candidates' leadership skills are more important to their vote for president choose McCain as their preferred candidate, while those who say the candidates' issue stances are more important are more likely to pick Romney over any other candidate.

Survey Methods

The results for Republicans in this report are based on interviews conducted Jan. 4-6, 2008, with 776 New Hampshire residents deemed most likely to vote in the Republican primary. For this sample, the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling is ±4 percentage points.

The likely voter model assumes a turnout rate of 60% of those who say they plan to vote in the Republican presidential primary, approximately 25% of New Hampshire adults. The likely voter results are weighted to match this assumption (weighted sample size is 732).

All results reported here are based on likely voters.

The results for Democrats in this report are based on interviews conducted Jan. 4-6, 2008, with 778 New Hampshire residents deemed most likely to vote in the Democratic primary. For this sample, the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling is ±4 percentage points.

The likely voter model assumes a turnout rate of 60% of those who say they plan to vote in the Democratic presidential primary, approximately 25% of New Hampshire adults. The likely voter results are weighted to match this assumption (weighted sample size is 722).

All results reported here are based on likely voters.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/103621/Dissecting-New-Hampshire-Primary-Vote.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030