I’ve been thinking about the polling that was reporting that Obama was winning in New Hampshire – pretty big – and that McCain might be ahead, but Romney was gaining ground. These polls reported during the last 48 hours before the election were off the mark. Michael Medved just posted a pretty good analysis.
I think pollsters and experts were right that most of the independents in New Hampshire (45% of all voters) liked two candidates: Obama and McCain. In the forty-eight hours before the polls closed, they got a consistent message about their two favorites: Obama had his victory in the bag, but McCain was potentially in trouble. Therefore, sophisticated independent voters (who could choose to participate in either the Republican or Democratic contest) reasoned that McCain needed their help but Obama didn’t. Therefore, those who wanted, above all, to make a difference, switched at the last moment to the GOP side, abandoning their previous intention to vote Democratic. That’s why the split of independent voters between those who went with the GOP and those who went with the Democrats wasn’t nearly as one-sidedly Democratic as expected..
That would also answer my question concerning turn-out. I was surprised to see that 279,000 people voted for a Democrat and 228,000 voted for a Republican. I expected a wider gap between the two considering the state usually votes Democrat.
With Democrats allowed to vote only for Democrats, and Republicans for Republicans, voters express their genuine political beliefs – liberal or conservative – before an election. In New Hampshire, most voters (45 percent) are independents that can vote for whomever they want during a primary. I don’t like this.
I certainly would not call independent voters in New Hampshire sophisticated, they are the ones that lick their finger and stick it in the air the morning of election day. Moderates… independents… they never take a stand on anything.