NH-Sen: Tuesday's Primary Numbers Bode Well for Democrats

Tuesday night was not only a big night in the race for the White House, it was also a big night in the race to extend the Democrats' narrowest of narrow majorities in the United States Senate.

Taking a look back through last night's numbers there are a lot of good omens for former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, the leading Democratic challenger to freshman Republican Senator John Sununu this cycle. Overall last night, about 280,000 voters participated in the Democratic presidential primary while roughly 230,000 voters participated in the Republican contest. This marked the first time in the modern era that more voters participated in the Democratic primary than the Republican one when both were contested.

It also marked a major swing from even just the 2006 midterms, which were also great for the Democrats. During that cycle, the Democrats gained the trifecta (the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature) for the first time since 1874, and also picked up both of the state's two congressional seats, the first election in which they had done so since 1912. Looking at the statewide, two-party vote for Congress, the two Democratic challengers racked up 209,434 votes compared with the 189,615 votes received by the Republican incumbents. Comparing these numbers with the numbers from last night, the Democrats got about one-third more votes in the presidential primary than they did in November 2006 while the Republicans got just about 21 percent more votes than they did in the prior election.

Breaking the turnout numbers into percentages, about 54.9 percent of those voting last night voted in the Democratic primary while just 45.1 percent voted in the Republican primary. This compares with the 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent pro-Democratic spread from the 2006 midterms, again suggesting significant more growth on the Democratic side than on the Republican side.

Looking now at the exit poll data, it looks like an estimated 123,000 or so independent voters participated in the Democratic primary last night. This number compares with the roughly 85,000 independent voters estimated to have participated in the Republican primary. Looking at these numbers as percentages, about 59.2 percent of independents voting last night did so in the Democratic primary while just 40.8 percent voted in the Republican primary.

Broad trends alone do not an election victory make. That said, the nation as a whole is less Republican-friendly than it was during the very Republican-friendly 2002 cycle, and New Hampshire is certainly more Democratic than it was that year -- and seemingly even more Democratic than it was during the very pro-Democratic cycle we saw in 2006. Again, this does not ensure a victory for Shaheen. Nevertheless, it does give her a great base upon which to run next fall and it gives the Democrats nationally a great opportunity in their effort to grow their majority in the Senate.

Tags: Independents, John Sununu, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Primaries, NH-Sen, Senate 2008 (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Re: NH-Sen:

Ill tell you one thing, after these results there is no excuse for Carol Shea-Porter not to be reelected in NH-01.  

by Toddwell 2008-01-09 05:05PM | 0 recs
There's a primary in NH for US Senate

I agree that the results yesterday bode well for whomever is the nominee against Sununu, though I am not sure how many of Senator Obama's voters will be enthusiastic supporters of Shaheen.  

A strong majority of Democratic primary voters endorsed change over the status quo and they will get another chance this September in the US Senate primary to decide what sort of leadership they want in Washington and what sort of Democratic Senator they want to represent them.

Shaheen's opponent in the Democratic Primary is Jay Buckey, a former astronaut and Air Force reserve officer (and MD and Dartmouth professor) who opposed and opposes the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts.  He is running as the progressive in the race, calling for a new Apollo Program for renewable energy and for universal health care:

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by Ron Turiello 2008-01-09 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: There's a primary in NH for US Senate

I've met Buckey a few times. His campaign manager is my former boss and a friend of mine. I won't make up my mind about the two two for months - I don't even want to THINK about it for months - but I am leaning towards Buckey. Not that it matters, Shaheen will crush him, winning every part of the state except the Upper Valley without ever even mentioning his name.

by Nathan Empsall 2008-01-09 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: There's a primary in NH for US Senate

I met Jay Buckey when he was on a trip to California and I am now an enthusiastic support.  He's a solid guy, a thinker, a progressive and would be a great Senator.  I think progressives should get behind this guy!

by davej 2008-01-09 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: NH-Sen: Tuesday's Primary Numbers Bode Well f

A friend of mine bumped into NHDP Chair Ray Buckley last night at a Manchester hotel, and they watched election returns together. I asked what Buckley's demeanor was - happy about the Clinton win, irked? - and my friend said Buckley was just ecstatic over the turnout for both candidates. This is a wonderful thing for democrats everywhere - little d and big D both.

by Nathan Empsall 2008-01-09 05:49PM | 0 recs

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