NH Primary: Trump Impresses, Bernie — Not So Much
(UnitedVoice.com) – The New Hampshire primary is over, and the results could be very bad news for Democrats in 2020.
For months, the media and party pundits have suggested that enthusiasm for their candidates is sky-high thanks to youth and those who are in the “resistance” against President Trump.
It appears that’s not the way it’s playing out.
In fact, turnout among the youth was significantly down in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
Exit polls in NH show under performing in the 18-29 age group. That's down about 20% from 2016. As usual, those over 65 turning out the most. We need more young people involved if we're going to beat Trump.
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) February 11, 2020
In addition, first-time voter numbers were also down from 2016 with only 12% of Democrats voting for the first time.
Bernie Sanders Won, But He Underperformed
In 2016, Bernie Sanders (D-VT) ran away with the New Hampshire primary. He earned 60.4% of the vote. Compare that with 2020 where Sanders earned only 26% of the vote with 95% of precincts reporting. He barely beat former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 1.5 points.
Sanders’ vote total was also down by 75,000 votes from 2016. While he is the presumptive nominee at this point, he’s not turning out young people the way he hoped in either New Hampshire or Iowa.
For the moment, the Sanders campaign says that a win is a win, and they’ll take it.
Klobuchar Surprises, But Is It Enough?
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) surprised many by coming in third place behind Buttigieg. Among moderates, it is sparking some hope that she can be the one voice of reason who can come from behind and ultimately win the nomination.
New England College political scientist Wayne Lesperance said, “New Hampshire has a new comeback kid.”
The saying comes from the 1992 campaign when Bill Clinton won New Hampshire after losing badly in Iowa. Ultimately, Clinton won the election to become the 42nd President of the United States.
Moderate Democrats have been expressing real concern about the general election viability of Sanders in a head-to-head matchup against Trump. If Sanders can’t build a youth coalition that shows up and votes, it may result in real problems. And, if Sanders isn’t nominated, it could make the youth turnout even worse if there are hard feelings at the convention this summer.
At this point in the primary season, Democrats don’t seem too excited about the candidates they have to choose from, or they believe it’s a foregone conclusion that Trump will win re-election based on the turnout totals.
According to a new Monmouth University poll, 66% of voters believe Trump will be elected. Only 22% say he will probably lose to a Democrat.
At this point, the blue wave Democrats were hoping for has not materialized. There is a long way to go in the campaign and anything can happen… but it doesn’t look good so far for Dems if enthusiasm doesn’t come up for them.
Trump Gets More Votes Than Any Incumbent in 4 Decades
Getting lost in all the noise of the Democratic primary, President Trump more than doubled President Obama’s 2012 New Hampshire primary vote.
In fact, Trump secured more votes than any incumbent president in four decades in New Hampshire:
- Trump – 120,476
- Obama – 40,080
- Bush – 53,963
- Clinton – 76,797
Trump also earned over 20,000 new votes from Republicans and independents over his 2016 totals.
While Democrat enthusiasm was down in New Hampshire, it’s up for Trump among Republican and independent voters — creating an emerging enthusiasm gap between the president and his opponents.
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said that a combination of factors were strong positives for Trump in New Hampshire. The tax cuts, trade with Canada through the USMCA, reductions in harmful regulations, and a $50 million investment to combat the opioid crisis all helped to bolster Trump’s status.
In 2016, Trump had a feud with former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The Trump campaign had blamed his general election loss in New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton on Ayotte. She lost her seat, and Trump narrowly lost the state.
Enthusiasm for a candidate is what propels them to victory. With a 94% approval rating in the Republican party, the 2020 election is very different for Trump in 2020 than it was in 2016.
The strength of Trump’s support in New Hampshire and Iowa is a trend that may spark fear in Democratic voters as the strength of their own candidates falters.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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