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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