President Obama won New Hampshire in the general election — though not the Democratic primary — in 2008, turning it from Red to Blue in 2008, 54%-45%.
Key to that victory: the substantial independent vote in this state.
The Obama team is watching those independents carefully, as well as other key demographic groups. They’re focused on how former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney performs, since he’s the candidate they’ve long been convinced will win the GOP nomination.
Members of Team Obama say that current exit polls indicate that:
* Mitt Romney lost to Ron Paul by four points among self-identifying independents — Paul 31%, Romney – 27%;
* Romney finished a distant fourth among voters who thought “Strong Moral Character” is the most important candidate quality, losing to Paul by 21 points.
* Romney won the wealthy, but lost the middle class. His biggest margin was among those making over $200K followed by those making $100-200K but he lost those making under $50K by 4 points.
“So he loses independents and low income voters,” says a top Obama campaign official. “His right-turn isn’t going to help these things.”
Another top Democrat says he’s looking at Romney’s performance in lower- and middle-income wards and areas of the Granite state.
“Like Iowa, he did not do well here,” the Democrat says. “Wait to see what happens in South Carolina with those groups after a couple million dollars and relentless ‘corporate raider’ pounding.” The Democrat also says that before Iowa Romney had about a thirty point lead. “He will have lost almost two-thirds of that in one week,” the Democrat says.
One polling guru who wanted to keep his name out of it takes the larger point that Romney needs to be stronger with independents, as well as lower- and middle-income groups, but he splashes cold water on some of the numbers members of Team Obama are throwing around.
“Given the margin of sampling error in the exit poll, Paul’s four-point margin over Romney among independents is not statistically significant. We’re saying they ran about evenly in this group. Ditto for those who make less than $50,000 a year.”