New Hampshire Demographics and the Independent Vote

Given the importance the media is attaching to the New Hampshire primary (as it did with Iowa) I'm wondering about the state's population and demographics. Who are these people who may be so influential in picking the Democratic nominee? Here's some reference points:

  • Total population (2006 census): 1.3 million.
  • Percentage over age 65: 12.4 (same as national). 95.8 of residents are white, 1.1% are African-American. 6.6% live below the poverty line (compared with 12.7% nationally.)
  • There are 234 incorporated cities and towns.


  • Here's a breakdown of the state's population. Only Concord, Manchester, Derrya and Nashua have more than 30,000 people. Another four have between 25 and 30,000 people -- Merrimack, Dover, Rochester and Salem. Around 55 have under 1,000 people.
  • By density, 16 towns have fewer than 10 people per square mile. Only 8 have more than 1,000 per square mile.

As to the N.H. voters, GraniteProf says there are 850,000 of whom 375,000 are undeclared. But, he says, quoting Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire, only 20-25% of them are really undeclared. Graniteprof predicts only 40 to 45% of them will turn out to vote Tuesday.

As my colleague Smith says, the "independent" undeclared voter here is likely very unengaged in politics. So their turnout rate will likely be lower than it will be for undeclared voters who are really partisans in disguise. And again, it is very, very probable that not every truly independent undeclared voter is deciding between Obama and McCain right now.

So my guess is that the number of New Hampshire voters deciding between Obama and McCain probably is no more than 3 to 4 percent of ALL likely primary voters, at most.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Wow. NH has a higher percentage of (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 01:43:33 PM EST
    Caucasians than Iowa.  

    i think it has something (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 02:48:42 PM EST
    to do with the weather; the only way to survive, long-term, is to turn white, regardless of what you started out as.

    yes, another "representative" state. the difference being that, with a primary, you don't have the restrictive time rules that iowa's caucus imposed, eliminating a fair chunk of potential participants, making those results even less representative than they already were going to be.

    who decided it was a good idea to let iowa and NH go first?

    Penn criticism, S-delegates, Bradley endorsement (none / 0) (#3)
    by Aaron on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 03:26:12 PM EST
    TIME's Karen Tumulty, "Clinton Machine Shaken by Setback" The scope of Barack Obama's victory in Iowa has shaken the Clinton machine down to its bolts. Donors are panicking. The campaign has been making a round of calls to reassure notoriously fickle "super delegates" -- elected officials and party regulars who are awarded convention spots by virtue of their titles and positions -- who might be reconsidering their decisions to back the candidate who formerly looked like a sure winner. And internally, a round of recriminations is being aimed at her chief strategist, Mark Penn, as the representative of everything about her pseudo-incumbent campaign that has been too cautious, too arrogant, too conventional and too clueless as to how much the political landscape has shifted since the last Clinton reign.

    Bradley to endorse Obama

    I got to speak with and photograph Bill Bradley when he was here in St. Louis for a book signing last summer, and I must admit that it was a bit of a disappointment. I supported him in his presidential bid for the Democratic nomination over Al Gore back in 2000, but these days his viewpoints seem out of touch, more in line with those of John Edwards then Barack Obama.

    I'm glad to see that he is supporting Senator Obama, though I don't see his endorsement as having any great impact on the national race.

    this thread is about demographics (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 06:32:15 PM EST
    please stay on topic -- there are other threads to put this on.

    i'm so glad you posted this (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jgarza on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 04:11:28 PM EST
    I'm a census dork, I read this stuff for fun.  So something about New Hampshire, it isn't growing as fast as Texas or Arizona, but none the less, in a demographic sense it has changed a lot, and is changing very swiftly.

    The state has lost people to what the census calls internal migration, some of that is balanced out by international migration, and birthrate increases take care of the rest for a net gain.

    If we were talking about Michigan whos economy is in peril, we would be saying poorer and less white due to loss.

    In New Hampshire, and most of the North east what is happening is that middle and working class are leaving(coming to places like Texas and AZ), not because there are no jobs like in Mich. but because it is getting too expensive.  The immigrants tend not to be poor unskilled labor like in Texas but highly skilled foreign workers.

    So voters in NH are going to be richer better educated and far more socially liberal than Iowa.  Remember comprehensive census estimates are from 2006 now two years old, and some of the factors that are behind the demographic switch have actually been accelerating, think housing bubble, and inflation in general.

    From a demographic sense its far more hospitable to Obama, however Hillary has strong roots there.

    If you use the web program Mapmaker (none / 0) (#6)
    by JSN on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 12:29:33 PM EST
    and compare the  demographics of Arizona, Texas and New Hampshire (for example unemployment and poverty level) you will see that NH is in far better shape than parts of Texas and Arizona.