New Hampshire Turnout ‘Huge,’ Breaking Democratic

New Hampshire Primary Voting in New Hampshire is at unusually high levels and breaking 3-to-2 for Democrats, ABC News’ Karen Travers reports.

New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan told ABC News that turnout among primary voters today is “absolutely huge” — and there are concerns about running out of ballots in towns like Portsmouth, Keene, Hudson and Pelham.

“Turnout is absolutely huge and towns are starting to get concerned that they may not have enough ballots,” Scanlan said. “We are working on those issues. Everything else seems to be going smoothly.”

Scanlan said that the Secretary of State’s office is sending additional ballots to Portsmouth and Keene (traditionally Democratic strongholds), Hudson (Republican leaning with significant numbers of independents) and Pelham (large number of independents).

According to Scanlan, the ballot strain seems to be on Democratic ballots, which suggests that the undeclared voters are breaking for the Democratic primary. New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner predicted that 90,000 undeclared voters would vote in the Democratic primary compared to 60,000 voting in the Republican primary.

Presumably, this is especially good news for Barack Obama, who one would expect would be the beneficiary of “new” voters. Conversely, it would seem bad for John McCain, who is expected to draw especially well among “independents.”

Whether the high Democratic turnout is an indication primarily of Obama’s lure or the excitement of finally having a truly competitive race won’t be known until we see the exit polls. I would have expected independents to swing towards the Republican contest, given that the polls show Obama winning comfortably while McCain and Romney are neck-and-neck.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    As the voting goes on, I found this somewhat interesting. Current GOP delegate totals.

    Candidate Delegates
    Mitt Romney 20
    Mike Huckabee 17
    Fred Thompson 6
    John McCain 3
    Ron Paul 2
    Duncan Hunter 1
    Rudy Giuliani 0
    Unpledged 3

    So Rudy is the only GOP presidential candidate without a delegate. And Fred is in third place.

    On the donkey side.
    Candidate Delegates
    Barack Obama 18
    John Edwards 17
    Hillary Clinton 16
    Bill Richardson 0
    Mike Gravel 0
    Dennis Kucinich 0
    Unpledged 6

    I think that sort of delegate total is the true meaning of a three person race.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, only Iowa and Wyoming have voted thus far. New Hampshire will change those figures considerably, followed quickly by Michigan and South Carolina. But Thompson isn’t raising any money and is dead last in all the polls. It’s not looking good for him.

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    James,

    My point was less a prediction of a future than how different the delegate count is from the hype. Obama, Edwards and Clinton are as tight as they can be on the delegate count. But the hype is all Obama.

    And McCain is being touted as the one with momentum, but he is sitting in fourth with Ron and Hunter right behind him in the delegate count and he is tied with “unpledged”.

    On the GOP side, don’t forget that a divided convention can also mean the guy willing to take the VP slot and toss his delegates in is in the cat bird seat (paging Mr. Thompson).

  4. James Joyner says:

    On the GOP side, don’t forget that a divided convention can also mean the guy willing to take the VP slot and toss his delegates in is in the cat bird seat (paging Mr. Thompson).

    I’m still dubious of the divided convention concept for reasons discussed in a previous post. Most of the post-Iowa contests are winner-take-all and Thompson is unlikely to win anything, so he’s not likely to be in a position to do much horse trading.
    (Not that he might not be a veep choice, anyway.)

  5. yo says:

    How long before moonbats call the shortage of democrat ballots a republican plot.

  6. Michael says:

    How long before moonbats call the shortage of democrat ballots a republican plot.

    Only in the general, a shortage of Democratic ballots in the primary wouldn’t help Republicans. They might blame it on one or another of the Democratic candidate’s though, but it’s hard to decide whom it would help and whom it would hurt.

  7. Michael says:

    I’m still dubious of the divided convention concept for reasons discussed in a previous post. Most of the post-Iowa contests are winner-take-all and Thompson is unlikely to win anything, so he’s not likely to be in a position to do much horse trading.

    Can we get a list of which states are winner-take-all and which split their delegates, and how many delegates each state has? It might be interesting to see if Romney might get enough delegates placing a strong second in the split states while Huckabee and McCain swap between 1st and 3rd, and how many winner-take-all states he might have to actually win to come out ahead.

  8. Michael says:

    Not that he might not be a veep choice, anyway.

    Who is on the list of possible VP candidates on the GOP side? Presumably none of the top 3 would select any of the other top 3 as VP, Thompson seems dead as a candidate for either office, Guiliani wouldn’t seem to bring much to the table either, and Ron Paul is still bat-shit insane. Are there any strong governors or congressmen whom the GOP is eying for the VP spot?

    On the Dem side, I don’t think Obama or Clinton would choose the other, but Edwards might still be a choice. Richardson definitely seems a prime candidate, even he seems to think so.

  9. Tano says:

    “I would have expected independents to swing towards the Republican contest, given that the polls show Obama winning comfortably while McCain and Romney are neck-and-neck.”

    Real people, as opposed to us political junkies, tend to vote for the candidate they want, not in a strategic way to help a lesser choice defeat an even lower choice.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Can we get a list of which states are winner-take-all and which split their delegates, and how many delegates each state has?

    CQ has a state-by-state list of the delegate allocations.

  11. Michael says:

    CQ has a state-by-state list of the delegate allocations.

    Jesus Christ that’s complicated, especially when you start stripping half the delegate for the punished states. Do you know if each of those delegates will be counted as half a vote, of if only half of the delegates will get a vote? If the latter, which delegates will be stripped, RNC, district or at-large delegates?

  12. James Joyner says:

    Jesus Christ that’s complicated

    Yup — and it’s even more complicated for the Democrats! They have more PR plus the “Super Delegates.”

    especially when you start stripping half the delegate for the punished states. Do you know if each of those delegates will be counted as half a vote, of if only half of the delegates will get a vote? If the latter, which delegates will be stripped, RNC, district or at-large delegates?

    Honestly, I’m not sure if they’ve figured that out. Or whether they’ll actually follow through and do it.

  13. Michael says:

    Ok, after a quick scan and without doing any actual numbers, it looks like if the GOP race stays tight, and Romney averages a strong second-place and wins some of the New England states (where I presume he will do better anyway), then it may be possible for him to win enough delegates to get the nomination. It seems that most states award at least district-level delegates either all to the district winner, or proportionally.

    Certainly a strong second-place in New Hampshire wouldn’t be the end of his campaign, he’s still likely to be ahead in delegates, unless McCain pulls off a landslide.

  14. just me says:

    I would have expected independents to swing towards the Republican contest, given that the polls show Obama winning comfortably while McCain and Romney are neck-and-neck

    I am not so sure.

    If yard signs and bumper stickers are any indication, they outnumber GOP candidates signs 3 to 1 maybe even more.

    I suspect McCain will actually do well today, but whether that is enough to give him much of a boost is another question.

    I think for the GOP South Carolina is going to be very important.

    I figure Hillary and Obama will turn on each other-their race is actually pretty tight-I don’t think Edwards is going to finish as closely here-the yard signs are all about Hillary and Obama.

  15. Paul says:

    My point was less a prediction of a future than how different the delegate count is from the hype. Obama, Edwards and Clinton are as tight as they can be on the delegate count. But the hype is all Obama.

    History shows that Iowa and NH are not relevant for their delegates but for the effect they have on predicting where the other states are headed (or perhaps causing it). So the Obama lead is not just “hype,” it is a pretty sound projection of where the delegate count will end up.

    On the Dem side, I don’t think Obama or Clinton would choose the other, but Edwards might still be a choice. Richardson definitely seems a prime candidate, even he seems to think so.

    Hard to do the VP exercise till you know who the top of the ticket is, so I won’t even try on the Republican side (maybe McCain-Brownback?). Assuming Obama wins the nomination, Wes Clark would appear to be his best choice to shore up the experience/foreign policy credentials. He endorsed Hillary but both of them seem like they could get over that. Richardson has a nice resume but just isn’t presidential timber.

  16. Dantheman says:

    On the Veepstakes —

    Democratic side — if either Obama or Clinton wins, I would expect Jim Webb to be the VP. Defense credentials, welcoming home the “Reagan Democrats”, and regional balance all in one well-spoken package.

    Republican side — I suspect that if McCain or Romney win, they need to make amends with the religious conservatives. If Huckabee is for some reason unacceptable, then another religious conservative like Brownback. If Huckabee wins the nomination, he needs a Washington insider with defense or foreign policy experience. If Lugar weren’t too old, I’d say he’d be right.

  17. Kent says:

    I would have expected independents to swing towards the Republican contest, given that the polls show Obama winning comfortably while McCain and Romney are neck-and-neck.

    A couple of comments already, but no one has mentioned the sporting aspect. Politics is sports to a lot of people, and they like to back the winning team. Obama, with a clear lead, is the winning team. Voting in the Republican primary, where there’s still a contest, risks backing a losing team.

    Not rational, but then most voting isn’t.

  18. just me says:

    Well I just got back from voting, and I have never voted where there were that many people at the polls.

    The lines weren’t long, but then we don’t have one machine-shoot this year my town moved up in the world-now instead of pencil and paper and little old ladies hand counting, we have the scanner where you use the black marker to fill in the circle and the machine scans it.

    I did notice a lot of people had GOP ballots, but our area of town tends to lean slightly more GOP than the other two wards.

  19. SavageView says:

    If yard signs and bumper stickers are any indication, they outnumber GOP candidates signs 3 to 1 maybe even more.

    Very trenchant analysis based on hard data. Must be a Bush supporter.