Democrats were anxiously hoping for a big voter turnout in New Hampshire after a disappointing show in Iowa — and they got it. But so did President Trump.
More than 283,000 people voted in the highly contested Democratic primary, with 97% of the results reported. In all likelihood Democratic turnout in New Hampshire will surpass the state record of 287,557 in 2008, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were on the ballot
One caveat: There are almost 95,226 additional voters in New Hampshire now than they were 12 years ago, according to state figures. The percentage of voters who turned out also appears to be lower than 2008.
Not to be outdone, Trump smashed prior voting totals for sitting presidents running basically unopposed in the New Hampshire primary. He racked up more than 125,000 of the roughly 141,000 votes in the Republican primary that have been counted so far.
By contrast, Obama won just 59,449 votes in the 2012 primary and Republican George W. Bush only corralled 52,962 Republican votes when he ran for a second term in 2004. Both faced only token opposition.
Although turnout figures can’t predict who will win the 2020 presidential election, they do give a sense of party enthusiasm. That’s often a key indicator of how well a candidate or a party will perform.
What the results appear to show is that Republicans are just as fired up as Democrats. That wasn’t the case a few years ago, when Democrats recaptured control of the House of Representatives. Other surveys also seem to indicate that Republicans have closed the enthusiasm gap.
The president was quick to gloat about the turnout.
Now it is possible New Hampshire might be an outlier. The Trump campaign made an aggressive effort to get out the vote against token opposition and the president himself showed up in New Hampshire on Monday night for big rally with thousands of supporters. That’s unlikely to be the case in most other states.
Other election watchers also point out that Democrats have registered almost twice as many new voters in New Hampshire in the past 12 years to almost bridge the gap with Republicans. Some 276,385 Democrats were registered to vote in 2020 vs. 288,464 Republicans.
The biggest voting bloc — and the kingmakers in the 2020 election — are independents. Their ranks have grown even faster than the two main parties and they represent 42% of the 980,720 registered voters in the state.