Tomorrow, voters in New Hampshire will cast their ballots in the second contest in the 2016 presidential nominations process. New Hampshire also holds a special place in this course, as students visited NH and worked for various campaigns for a week in January. Students’ predictions follow the break, after a brief description of the New Hampshire primary and an overview of the current trends.

New Hampshire voters are notoriously tough to predict, as they often tend to decide quite late in the cycle. With only 8 days between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary each cycle, research has shown that outcomes in Iowa can affect media coverage and relative performance in the New Hampshire primary. As NH voters break late, seemingly minor problems for a candidate during that week may change his or her chances there. For instance, given the interpretation of Saturday’s Republican debate as being disastrous for Sen. Marco Rubio, his momentum coming out of Iowa may have stalled or even reversed.

Another factor to consider in New Hampshire is the role of unaffiliated voters. While registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote in their party’s primary, voters who are not registered with a party (“unaffiliated”) may choose to vote in either party’s primary. While many in the media incorrectly classify these voters as true “independents”, the reality – according to David Moore and Andrew Smith and others – is that most of these voters are ideologically similar to partisans within the state, but like having the option to choose their primary. Still, Moore and Smith also note that New Hampshire Republicans are decidedly less conservative than their counterparts in other parts of the country, while its Democrats are more liberal.

Vying for the 20 delegates on the Republican side in 2016 (see allocation rules here), Donald Trump has a commanding lead entering Tuesday’s contest, but there seems to be a four-way race for second place, among Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and Gov. John Kasich.


Vying for the Democrats’ 24 delegates in NH, Sanders continues to lead Clinton by a significant margin, though Clinton’s comeback win in 2008 (and her husband’s comeback to win 2nd place in 1992) looms as a possibility for some this cycle.


Continue reading for students’ own predictions for New Hampshire!

Stella Pabis and Amanda Knipple

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 30% 9 Sanders 53% 13
Cruz 17% 3 Clinton 47% 11
Rubio 15% 3
Kasich 14% 3
Bush 10.5% 2
Christie 6.5% 0
Fiorina 4% 0
Carson 3% 0

Donald Trump has held a considerable lead over the rest of the field in New Hampshire this cycle in the polls. That lead in conjunction with his 18 endorsements and four offices throughout the state, puts him in our number one spot for this state.  Trump’s lead has remained at around 30% throughout polling. Although the polls put Rubio slightly ahead of Cruz, Cruz has his Iowa momentum along with having the most cash on hand of any of the GOP candidates. Despite Kasich’s and Bush’s better ground game in New Hampshire in terms of visits and events, Rubio (despite recent setbacks) also seems to be the emerging establishment candidate in the polls and in his Iowa performance.

Bernie Sanders has been ahead in the New Hampshire polls since the end of the summer. His strong lead can be attributed to the demographics of the state (he does well among white voters) as well as its proximity to his home state (New England candidates traditionally perform well in New Hampshire). Both Sanders and Clinton have strong ground games in New Hampshire, but high turnout rates could tip the scales in Sanders’ favor. We predicted that Clinton will do much better than her polling numbers because of last minute decisions of the New Hampshire electorate and the competitiveness of the primary.

McKenzie Franck and Samantha Coons

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 25% 11 Sanders 57% 14
Rubio 18% 4 Clinton 43% 10
Cruz 12% 3
Kasich 10% 2
Bush 7% 0
Christie 6% 0
Carson 5% 0
Fiorina 3% 0

Following Rubio’s higher than expected poll numbers in Iowa his campaign has been gaining momentum and media coverage. In the last few days Rick Santorum dropped out of the race and endorsed Rubio, stating Rubio is “someone who brings people together at a time when there’s such divisiveness in Washington.”  Rubio has spent a large amount of time campaigning in NH compared to Trump, who focused more heavily on Iowa. Cruz placed well in Iowa because of the large amount of evangelical voters, but New Hampshire on the contrary is not very religious. So, while Cruz does have a large number of supporters in NH it is not his target electorate. Meanwhile, polls and models suggest that Trump’s supporters are the type of voter least likely to show up to the polls. This is narrowing the gap between Rubio and Trump, although Trump still has a much higher predicted delegate count due to the Republican’s rule of a 10% threshold. Since Bush, Christie, Carson, and Fiorina all fall short of the threshold, their delegates go to the winner, making Trump the clear delegate winner.

According to the polls, Bernie Sanders is going to get a greater amount of delegates than Hillary Clinton, likely because Sanders has a better ground game in New Hampshire and attracts more younger voters then Clinton does. While Clinton does have a greater amount of endorsements, Sanders has a strong base of enthusiastic volunteers. Clinton is experiencing a lag in the polls because of the recent email scandal and the criticisms of her Goldman Sachs speaking fees, which has caused people to see her as untrustworthy.

Keshawn Langhorn and Kaitlyn Krolik

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Kasich 24.5% 9 Sanders 57% 14
Trump 24% 5 Clinton 41% 10
Cruz 13% 2
Bush 11% 2
Rubio 11% 2
Christie 8.5% 0
Carson 4.5% 0
Fiorina 3% 0

Kasich has recently emerged in the polls in New Hampshire. As the moderate candidate that New Hampshire seems to be supporting, we expect to Kasich to take the win. We predict that he will continue to pick up momentum. While Trump is polling around 30% in New Hampshire, we do not see Trump’s supporters coming out and voting. Having first hand experience on what it is like to be at a Trump rally, anecdotal evidence suggests that a lot of the people at those events think of it as a media stunt. Chris Christie rode a very early wave of momentum into his decision to run for President. After the “Bridgegate” scandal and series of underwhelming performances in debates, it seems that the idea of Christie for President will be over after New Hampshire.

We see Sanders’ neighboring state delivering him a major win. He has a lot of support coming from Vermont and assisting his campaigning in New Hampshire, some of which our Sanders volunteers encountered while visiting New Hampshire in early January. In addition, New Hampshire continues to poll with positive feelings around 90% towards Sanders, with fewer respondents (65%) having positive feelings towards Clinton. In addition, Sanders is polling 20 points ahead of Clinton. We think this relationship will be evident in turnout and votes, particularly when the youth vote is taken into account. This may be the beginning of a repeat primary contest as seen between Obama and Clinton in 2008, in which Obama capitalized on the support of young people to win the nomination. Lastly, Sanders’ emphasis on income inequality is highly relevant in New Hampshire, as its income inequality is the fastest-growing in the United States.

JaiCe Stinton and Marlena Mareno

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 30% 8 Sanders 61% 15
Rubio 25% 5 Clinton 38% 9
Cruz 13% 3
Kasich 10% 2
Bush 10% 2
Christie 5% 0
Fiorina 5% 0
Carson 2% 0

Donald Trump’s loss in Iowa has potentially two outcomes. One option is the Trump supporters rallying other voters to join them to vote, while the other option is Trump supporters losing confidence in him and staying home or choosing someone else. However, Trump does have a comfortable lead against the other candidates in New Hampshire, supporting the first option. Ted Cruz’s support will drop significantly in the primary simply because New Hampshire is not a religious state in any sense. Cruz is waiting to go to South Carolina where he can pick up more voters. Rick Santorum, after dropping out of the presidential race, has added to the “Marcomentum” by endorsing Marco Rubio. We believe this will give Rubio the support he needs to pass Ted Cruz and place second in New Hampshire. Rubio and John Kasich have gained support within the last few days during the numerous rallies and town halls. Jeb Bush has had a tough campaign in New Hampshire and although he will not being winning the state, he should be able to gain a few delegates. The rest of the candidates will not gain enough support to qualify for delegates.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been running a tight race in the polls since the beginning, and now, with the New Hampshire primary just days away, Sanders has taken a huge lead. New Hampshire is prime real estate for Bernie Sanders due to the large white population, which is his demographic. Hillary Clinton has fallen just under 40% in recent polls, even after the “win” in Iowa, while Sanders is polling 20 points higher among likely Democratic voters. Sanders is also stealing from Clinton’s typical supporters, including women voters. Citizens of Vermont, Sander’s home state, have also influenced New Hampshire voters to feel “The Bern,” increasing his likelihood to win. Because New Hampshire has a better history of mobilizing young voters, Sanders could gain at least one-third of the voting electorate made up of millennials.

Eric Brower and Nicholas Pozzi

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 32% 11 Sanders 58% 14
Rubio 25% 5 Clinton 41% 10
Kasich 12% 2
Cruz 11% 2
Bush 9% 0
Christie 6% 0
Carson 4% 0
Fiorina 1% 0

With Donald Trump holding a consistent 20-21 point lead over candidates in the four-way battle for second in New Hampshire between Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich, it is likely that Trump will hold on to his lead.  With Rubio, Bush, and Kasich competing for votes, it is likely this group of candidates will keep each other’s vote totals down, preventing each other from winning. Also likely to aid Trump in victory, is his vocal policy on China, taxes, ISIS, and immigration, which align with the top two issues for New Hampshire Republicans. A third of New Hampshire Republicans cite terrorism and national security as their main concern, with the economy and jobs at second with 20%.

After a near tie in Iowa, expect Bernie Sanders to win the first decisive victory in the Democratic race. Sanders will arrive in New Hampshire as New England’s favorite son, riding a wave of optimism after a better than expected performance in Iowa. Furthermore, Sanders’s support among young voters may help him in NH. Additionally, Sanders is, and has been, topping the polls out of New Hampshire for months and has a strong ground game. Hillary Clinton will suffer a significant defeat in the Granite State due to her worse than expected performance in Iowa and outsider status regionally, as compared to Sanders. Martin O’Malley will remain on the ballot, despite the suspension of his campaign, though he will not meet the threshold for delegates once again.

Emily Radigan and Jack Massaroni

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 30% 8 Sanders 58% 14
Rubio 20% 5 Clinton 39% 10
Kasich 12% 3
Bush 10% 2
Cruz 10% 2
Christie 7% 0
Fiorina 5% 0
Carson 3% 0

Iowa was eye opening in many ways; Cruz won, Rubio came out surging, and Trump stumbled when it mattered most. After Trump’s well-below-expected performance in Iowa, we feel that Trump’s numbers may be misleading. We believe he will still come in first by a healthy margin, as he is still polling well in NH, however his polling numbers have lost some credibility. Rubio is experiencing “Marcomentum” after an above-expectations performance in Iowa, and has gained several key endorsements. We think he will once again surprise and rise above polling predictions. We believe Kasich, Cruz, and Bush will finish with similar percentages. Kasich had almost no ground game in Iowa and did not get strong results there, but may appeal more to residents of NH. Cruz is out of his element in NH, a state with few evangelical or religious voters. Cruz still lacks support from the GOP, and may continue to struggle in more secular states. Bush, while popular among party officials, still finds himself in a fight for the so-called “establishment” vote. Christie needs a strong performance in NH, however he, Rubio, Kasich, and Bush target similar demographics, as the establishment candidates. Fiorina and Carson will need some seriously surprising results in NH to remain competitive in the race.

Sanders has been dominating NH polls since September and has continued that trend. We believe that New Hampshire will not be nearly as close as Iowa was, and Sanders will come away with a significant win. Clinton is trying to close the gap, and after-Iowa polls show this happening. We also believe that there will be a small percentage of votes for “other.”

Cody Ingraham and Kevin Callanan

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 31.5% 9 Sanders 56% 13
Rubio 14.5% 3 Clinton 44% 11
Kasich 14% 3
Cruz 12.5% 3
Bush 12% 2
Christie 8.5% 0
Fiorina 4% 0
Carson 3% 0

In the Republican field, Trump has been rising in the polls and his success at the ballot box may prove to match. The big question is which moderate will take the number two spot as Christie, Kasich, and Bush continue playing leapfrog to hold on in recent weeks. Rubio’s recent surge in the polls, however, may bring him to number two as he maintains the title of most electable to the Republican electorate, especially after taking 23% in the Iowa caucuses and receiving a flood of endorsements in recent days. Ted Cruz’s southern conservatism, while popular among Iowa’s evangelicals, won’t likely dominate in the Granite State. Christie’s expensive efforts in New Hampshire may prove to be fruitless as he spirals down in the polls, and may cause him to fall below the threshold to receive delegates. Ultimately, whatever the outcome, America should expect some drop-outs to come forward in the the aftermath.

In the Democratic field, Sanders has been consistently leading Clinton in the polls since early December, and it does not seem like Sanders’ support is subsiding, especially with younger voters. Sanders’ strongholds of support are largely in the western part of the state bordering Vermont, but he has made inroads in Clinton 2008 strongholds like Hillsborough County, containing the larger cities of Manchester and Nashua, as well as Rockingham County, where the city of Portsmouth is located. This aggressive push into Clinton’s home turf should bode well for Sanders’ campaign. From our own experience canvassing in Hillsborough County, both campaigns are clearly well organized with enthusiastic supporters, however it appears to be trending towards Sanders. The demographics of New Hampshire will also contribute to a Sanders win, the state is very white and more affluent. All of these factors help the Sanders campaign, whose base is very young and very white.

Aubrey Kirsch and Brianna Russo

GOP Candidate Percentage Delegates Dem Candidate Percentage Delegates
Trump 26% 7 Sanders 49.5% 12
Rubio 23% 5 Clinton 47.5% 12
Kasich 14% 3
Cruz 12% 3
Bush 10% 2
Christie 8% 0
Carson 4% 0
Fiorina 3% 0

Considering the nature of the New Hampshire primary, Trump will win the number one spot tomorrow, as opposed to his second place finish in Iowa just a week prior. With the loss of Iowa Trump must build up his ground game, which his event organizers are already working on. With his increasing visits to New Hampshire, Trump supporters will have more opportunities to see and hear Trump, solidifying their trust in him. Also, assuming that Trump supporters are not usually politically involved, the ease of voting in a primary, as opposed to a caucus, should work in Trump’s favor. Since New Hampshire is not a religiously motivated state, reporting only 22% of the electorate as evangelicals, we will not see as much success for Cruz in New Hampshire as we did in Iowa. Marco Rubio, due to his performance in Iowa, will pull forward to second place, having gained more trust from moderate and undecided Republican voters.

New Hampshire is “feelin the Bern” with Senator Sanders, who is bringing in large crowds to his rallies held in the Granite State. For example, at the Dartmouth College Town Hall Meeting in Hanover on January 14, not only were college students arriving in large numbers, but a significant amount of middle age to senior citizens filled the Spaulding Auditorium as well, ultimately causing the 900 occupancy room to go into overflow. Sanders seems to have a monopoly on the state while Clinton is behind in the polls. Clinton’s accessibility is very limited with about two events including her actual appearance, as opposed to those speaking on her behalf, between Friday and tomorrow’s primary day. Excluded from the data is Martin O’Malley, though he technically is still included on the New Hampshire ballot. He is likely to become a protest vote that will draw in a small percentage of the vote.


GOP Candidate Average Dem Candidate Average
Trump 28.56% Sanders 56.19%
Rubio 18.94% Clinton 42.56%
Kasich 13.81%
Cruz 12.56%
Bush 9.94%
Christie 6.94%
Carson 3.56%
Fiorina 3.5%

While many students believe Trump’s polling numbers are overstated, they nevertheless believe his lead is insurmountable. Seven of the eight groups chose Trump as the Republican winner (Kait and Keshawn went with a Kasich upset). Most groups also had Rubio finishing a strong second. These predictions were mostly finished before his widely-panned debate performance on Saturday, though, so it remains to be seen if these trends hold.

On the Democratic side, Sanders is the clear leader in the polls and students believe New Hampshire is “feeling the Bern.”

The next 24 hours will clearly be a wild ride for all involved. Stay tuned to the Political Saints blog for our reactions, musings, and South Carolina and Nevada predictions. You can also follow us on Twitter!


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