Study: N.H. Voters Increasingly Democratic
By Juliet Eilperin
DOVER, N.H. -- GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin launched an all-out push today in New Hampshire, a state that helped resuscitate John McCain's presidential campaign this year and could prove critical in next month's election. But even as Palin holds rallies in Dover, Laconia and Salem today, a new analysis by the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute suggests the state has become increasingly Democratic over the past decade.
New Hampshire is one of the few states that flipped between 2000, when George W. Bush carried it, and 2004, when he lost there to John Kerry. Barack Obama has recently edged ahead of McCain in the polls here, but as the electoral map has narrowed, the McCain camp is fighting hard for the state's four electoral college votes.
Nearly a third of the state's current potential voters have become eligible to vote there in just the past eight years, according to the survey, and these same voters are more likely to identify as Democrats than New Hampshire's longtime voters. The three researchers -- a demographer, a polling professor and an election registration expert -- based their analysis on U.S. Census, Internal Revenue Service and polling data.
Between 2000 and 2008, they found 208,000 possible voters moved to New Hampshire, many from the Boston area. During the same time, 113,000 New Hampshire youngsters reached the age of 18. That means that 321,000 of the state's 991,000 potential voters came from just these two groups.
Both young voters (53 percent) and interstate migrant voters (52 percent) are more likely to be Democratic than established voters, 43 percent of whom are self-identified Democrats. By contrast, 39 percent of longtime voters identify as Republican -- but only 28 percent of young voters and 32 percent of migrant voters do.
"The state has been trending more Democratic in the last eight years -- really, in the last fifteen years," said Andrew Smith, who directs the UNH Survey Center and co-authored the report along with Carsey Institute senior demographer Kenneth Johnson and UNH political science director Dante Scala. "New Hampshire, based on 2000 and 2004, is certainly going to be competitive."
In 2004, Kerry got 50.2 percent of New Hampshire's vote to Bush's 48.8 percent, while four years earlier Bush bested Al Gore 48.1 to 46.8 percent.
Posted at 11:08 AM ET on Oct 15, 2008
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