Combing through the results of yesterday’s New Hampshire primary, the press is assigning winner and loser titles to each of the Republican candidates. They say that Romney and Paul win, Huntsman, Gingirch and Santorum lose. But one story that’s being almost totally overlooked is the pathetically low turnout in yesterday’s Democratic primary.
The Obama campaign has been touting that it has 7 field offices and 20 paid staff in the Granite state and that they’re treating these primaries as fire drills for the general election. Well, the building burned down.
With 98% of votes counted in New Hampshire, Barack Obama won the Democratic primary. He captured 82% of the vote. That’s better than George W. Bush’s 79.5% in 2004 and worse than Bill Clinton’s 84% in 1996. So he’s right in line with past presidents who’ve faced a field of token challengers in the nation’s first primary.
The big difference is that Bill Clinton won the 1996 primary by capturing 76,797 votes, while Barack Obama picked up only 48,145 votes. That’s about 63% of what Clinton managed to turn out in 1996.
Maybe there’s an explanation for this. Maybe New Hampshire has taken a sharp right turn and there’s just fewer registered Democrats? Nope.
According to year-end voter registration totals provided by Ballot Access News, it turns out that there were only 224,564 registered Democrats in 2000 and that number had risen to 268,336 by 2010.
The bottom line is that there are more registered Democrats and far fewer of them bothered to come out and show their support for this incumbent president.
What does that tell you?
It tells me that Barack Obama was the biggest loser of the evening, but the press is giving him a free ride. It also tells me that there’s almost no chance Obama is competitive in New Hampshire this Fall, despite the fact that Democrats carried the state in 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2008.