Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Hampshire Exit Polls Reveal Hillary Clinton Electoral Weaknesses

Following-up from yesterday, "The Hillary Clinton Campaign Implosion."

At the Los Angeles Times, "New Hampshire exit polls display vulnerabilities for Hillary Clinton":
Hillary Clinton's bracing 22-point defeat in New Hampshire came at the hands of voters who seemed to reject not so much her policies, but Clinton herself — making her rebound all the more complicated unless the state proves to be an outlier.

That verdict comes through clearly in the exit poll of New Hampshire’s Democratic primary voters. Just over a third of them cited honesty and trustworthiness as the most important attribute for the next president, and Clinton’s opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, won those voters 91% to 5%. Asked if one candidate or both shared their values, a third said only Sanders did, and he won those voters 97% to 2%.

The repudiation was across the board. Sanders won almost all categories of voters, including women. Clinton had made them a specific target, but Sanders won women's votes by 11 points.

New Hampshire is almost wholly white, more liberal and less religious than most states, which may make the defeat here a blip when the election season is concluded. But the sharp divisions evident Tuesday suggest trouble ahead for the national front-runner.

As the campaign moves into more diverse states, one big question will be whether African American and Latino voters decide by virtue of race and ethnicity or age. If minority voters form a bloc, Clinton’s strength in states like South Carolina and Nevada is assured. But if young minority voters break away from their elders to back Sanders, Clinton’s advantage would be diminished.

New Hampshire lacks enough minority voters to draw any conclusions about the impact of race and youth. But as in Iowa, young voters overall proved to be a potent army for Sanders. Among those aged 30 and under, he won more than 4-in-5 votes. The only age category that Clinton won was voters 65 and older, 55% of whom supported her.

In crafting his victory, the Vermont senator accomplished something remarkable. Most Democratic insurgent campaigns in recent elections, dating back to Sen. Gary Hart in 1984, have attracted upscale voters and not those lower on the economic ladder. Sanders reversed that as he became the first Democratic challenger to win here since Hart upset former Vice President Walter Mondale that year.

Among those making $50,000 a year or less, Sanders beat Clinton 2-1. He also defeated Clinton among voters without a college degree, by 36 points.

Those lower-income, less-educated voters formed the backbone of Clinton’s 2008 campaign, giving her advantages that kept the race going for months against then-Sen. Barack Obama, who had a coalition of black voters and upscale whites. That year, among New Hampshire voters making less than $50,000, Clinton defeated Obama 47% to 32% in a multicandidate race.

New Hampshire’s voting populace is young and extremely mobile, a circumstance that benefited Sanders. About 30% of voters were either not old enough to vote or were not residents the last time Clinton ran in a primary here. In that way, however, New Hampshire is similar to states like California, where young and new voters abound, even if many of them don’t register or vote regularly...