All eyes were on the Democratic primary in New Hampshire last night for obvious reasons, but the GOP had their own primary as well. Sure, there was little reason to be paying attention because President Trump was swamping the small field of people running against him. In fact, they called the race only moments after the polls closed. But what might be giving the Democrats pause this morning is the margin of victory. Trump didn’t just win… he set a record in modern history for incumbents in the Granite State. (Politico)
President Donald Trump handily defeated his remaining GOP challenger in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night.
Trump cruised to victory with about 83 percent of the vote and just 8 percent of precincts reporting. Bill Weld, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, was a distant second, though he was able to capture just over 12 percent of the vote in the early results.
The race was called just after the last polls closed in the state, and about an hour after most polls closed.
Trump ran up a staggering number, despite Bill Weld managing to drain off roughly 12% of the vote. (Joe Walsh was still on the ballot despite having dropped out, but he didn’t have any impact on the race.)
So let’s put Trump’s margin of victory in perspective. With virtually all precincts reporting, President Donald Trump received 110,717 votes. For a trip down memory lane, Barack Obama got 49,080 votes in 2012. George W. Bush in 2004 managed a bit better with 52,962 votes. The only one who came remotely close to this number was Bill Clinton who nabbed 76,797 in 1996. Trump bested that number by more than 35,000.
Back in 1992, Bush 41 took 92,271 votes, but that figure should probably have an asterisk next to it because he was facing a pretty strong challenge from Pat Buchanan, who took 37% of the vote. Still, it was a strong showing, despite the fact that Bush would go on to lose the general election.
So what does this mean? I’d say that none of the Democrats should be taking New Hampshire for granted in November, despite the recent demographic shifts we discussed yesterday. While the outcome was never in doubt, what we’re looking at here is voter enthusiasm. New Hampshire Republicans turned out in record numbers on a blustery February day to cast their votes for Trump in a primary election that was completely meaningless.
If Trump’s base in New Hampshire is willing to turn out at those levels in the primary, what’s going to happen in November? The numbers on the Democrats’ side don’t show very much heat. And CNN was just reporting this morning that the turnout among voters under age 25 was well down from previous years. That’s the heart of the Democrats’ base in New Hampshire. It sounds to me as if Trump’s approval rating in the state (he was underwater by 12 points last month) isn’t going to matter all that much if the Democrats can’t build some excitement around their candidate and the President’s base shows up in droves.