Live Free or Die isn't just a saying on the Granite State's license plate--it's a way of life, and the political behaviors of New Hampshire are no exception.
New Hampshire is an independent state; unlike many of its fellow New England neighbors which tilt towards various shades of blue, New Hampshire is purple in its nature. The state's Senators are split, one Republican, one Democrat; the two House members are both Republicans and the governor is a Democrat.
The state has a history of generally swinging towards the winner in presidential election. In the ten contests stretching back to 1972, New Hampshire has voted for the winning candidate 8 times. The two exceptions? In 2004 John Kerry won the state, and in 1976 Gerald Ford won the state.
President Obama and Mitt Romney boast their own advantages in the state. Republicans have had success picking up seats in the state in recent years. The GOP picked up one seat from Democrats in New Hampshire in 2010: Republican House Rep. Frank Guinta defeated Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st congressional district. Although freshmen Sen. Kelly Ayotte won a seat previously held by another Republican- Judd Gregg- she's considered a rising star in her party, and is becoming a recognizable face of the New Hampshire Republican. She's also been a Romney supporter for a long time and has frequently appeared with him in the state. Although the Romney's have never been full-time residents of New Hampshire they do own property there--their summer home is on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE.
But Obama didn't just eke out a win in New Hampshire in 2008--he dominated. Obama carried every county in the state, besting McCain by roughly 10 points- 54 percent to 44 percent. The state's relatively low unemployment rate, 5.7 percent in September, 2012, might prove a challenge for Republicans.
Below is a look at some of the key statistics in New Hampshire.
5.7 percent in September, 2012.
The unemployment rate in New Hampshire is higher now than when Obama took office. In January, 2009, it was 5.2 percent, now it's 5.7 percent. However, the number is down from a four month peak of 6.7 percent from Oct. 2009- Jan. 2010. Since then the number has trended downward, although July and August are seeing a bit of an uptick. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in June, it's ticked up to 5.4 percent in July, 5.7 percent in August and continuing through September.
POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION
STATE POPULATION – (As of the 2011 Census Bureau report)
White persons- 94.6 percent
Black persons- 1.3 percent
Asian persons- 2.3 percent
Hispanic persons- 2.9 percent