The Note: Your New Hampshire Primary Primer


--RECORD TURNOUT? Secretary of State Bill Gardner is predicting a record surge in Republican ballots cast. Democrats are not expected to show up to the polls in the record numbers they did eight years ago. Even so, overall turnout is expected to shatter the mark set in 2008.

--POLLING PLACES TO WATCH: University of New Hampshire polling director Andy Smith tells ABC News “for the GOP, I like to look at Derry as it has both a blue collar core and suburban parts.” On the Democratic side, Smith says, “Keene is key." He predicts a 60 percent finish for Bernie Sanders might spell statewide disaster for Hillary Clinton -- not a far-fetched scenario, as the heavily Democratic town is less than 20 miles from the Vermont border. Donald Trump might have his eye on working class towns like Rochester, Somersworth or perhaps nearby Farmington, which his state staff calls “Trump country.” Polls begin closing at 7 p.m., though in some areas voting will continue until 8 p.m.

--HOW PREDICTIVE IS THIS PRIMARY, ANYWAY? New Hampshire’s record at picking nominees is spotty. On the Republican side, it’s a better indicator than Iowa: in the last 7 nominating contests dating back to 1976, the New Hampshire winner has gone on to win the nomination 5 times. On the Democratic side, Iowa has the edge: over the last 8 competitive contests, Iowa voters have chosen 6 eventual nominees; New Hampshirites have chosen 5. Many would argue that the states’ most valuable role is paring down the choices, not picking a winner. But in 40 years, no Republican has secured the nomination without winning one of those two early states.

--5 THINGS TO WATCH TODAY: With independents making up more than 40 percent of the electorate, the New Hampshire primary can often surprise, and that may be the case today. ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI note the five things to watch:

--4 IN 10 GOP VOTERS SAID THEY COULD CHANGE THEIR MINDS: Before polling places opened, a large chunk of the New Hampshire electorate said they were still willing to change their allegiances. More than four in 10 likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire said they still could change their minds before today’s primary, according to new polls out Sunday and Monday. A CNN/WMUR/UNH poll showed that less than half of likely Republican voters say they have “definitely decided” who they're going to vote for today, ABC’s RYAN STRUYK notes.


--BERNIE SANDERS AND THE EXPECTATIONS GAME. In politics, there is one downside to front-runner status; you have to win and, depending on your perceived lead at the time votes are cast, it helps to win big, ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS notes. Sen. Bernie Sanders might be the underdog nationwide, but he has been leading in the polls in New Hampshire for months. One poll released on the eve of the "First in the Nation" primary from CNN/WMUR/UNH put the Vermont independent at a whopping 61 percent over the former secretary of state at 35 percent. Another from UMass-Lowell, also out Monday, had Sanders at 56 percent and Clinton at 40 percent. While the numbers would be exciting for any campaign, they have also set the bar high for Sanders as voting in the state begins. Sanders' campaign confirms that their internal polling numbers are strong, but argues, as does the senator, that nothing can be taken for granted and that any win would be momentous for them.

--JEB BUSH'S FALL (OR MAYBE RISE) IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Many, including some of Jeb Bush’s own advisers, believe New Hampshire is his final stand, his last opportunity to prove to the Republican establishment and his powerful donor base that he is a viable candidate who has a shot in future primaries. Some of his backers fear tonight could be the end of the line. But it’s just as plausible that New Hampshire could be the beginning of Bush's second wind, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH writes. Bush has seen a rise in some polls and has seen his campaign recharged by a solid debate performance and an uptick in crowd size. It’s no secret that the Bush campaign has gone all-in here. Supporters were shipped in from Florida to door-knock, make calls and plant yard signs around the Granite State. An analysis of voter contact, conducted by Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray, found that Bush led the Republican pack in outreach. But for donors, though the campaign and super PAC's money may be abundant, time is not.

--KASICH PREDICTS ‘VERY STRONG’ FINISH. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose campaign has maintained a laser-like focus on performing well in today’s New Hampshire primary, declined to predict exactly how he would place once all the votes are counted here, but sounded a note of confidence in an interview today on "Good Morning America." "We’re going to finish very strong," he told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. "I’m not like Muhammad Ali; I can’t predict, you know, exactly what round or whatever." Kasich noted that he has already dispatched his campaign bus to South Carolina and on Monday his campaign released a schedule of events the Republican Ohio governor is expected to attend in that state.

--NOTED: KASICH TAKES DIXVILLE: Kasich was also relishing his performance in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, which traditionally votes at midnight on Primary Day. Kasich received three votes compared to two for rival Donald Trump. (Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders received four votes out of the total nine cast). Kasich said he called every voter in the northern New Hampshire enclave.

--RUBIO BELIEVES HE MUST BE ‘DOING SOMETHING RIGHT’. Sen. Marco Rubio today brushed off recent attacks by his GOP rivals, saying he must be "doing something right," and expressing confidence despite what he called the "unusual set up" in today’s New Hampshire primary, ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ notes. "It's great to be targeted because that means you're doing something right," the Florida Republican told "Good Morning America." "People don't waste time or money attacking someone who isn't doing something well."


GOP OPPOSITION GROUP, AMERICA RISING, SETS EXPECTATIONS FOR CLINTON. Don’t Be Fooled: New Hampshire Is ‘Clinton Country,’ Colin Reed, executive director of America Rising PAC, wrote in a Medium post last night. “For the second straight week, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign is furiously spinning their underperformance in a key early voting state. And for the second straight week, the expectation-lowering spin coming out of Brooklyn (or rather New Hampshire since that’s where 150 of her campaign staffers have frantically been deployed) strains credulity. Here’s why Hillary Clinton should win New Hampshire with ease:”

DISS OF THE DAY with ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW -- GOVERNORS GO FOR THE GAFFE. After Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s poorly-reviewed performance at the ABC News Republican debate on Saturday, candidates saw an opening for a shot at second place behind the presumptive favorite in New Hampshire, Donald Trump. Yesterday John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush formed a firing squad of governors, taking aim right at Rubio’s repetitive gaffe. “I think what you saw on Saturday night is proof positive that there is a difference between being prepared for being President of the United States and not,” Christie told WMUR. “I am prepared to be President of the United States, Senator Rubio is not.” Bush also suggested it’s not Rubio’s time. “When you repeat something over and over again that's basically a canned phrase and it validates a belief you're not ready to be president,” Bush said. But it was Kasich who got to the heart of Rubio’s repeat problem: authenticity. “People are looking to not only understand what’s in your head, they also want to know what’s in your heart,” he said. "And if you’re scripted, I’m not sure people respond to that.”


SANDERS HITS BACK THAT CLINTON’S CLAIM THAT HE TOOK WALL STREET MONEY. “It is very disturbing that, as the Clinton campaign struggles through Iowa and New Hampshire, they have become increasingly negative and dishonest,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “Today’s attack from Secretary Clinton, [whose] super PAC received $15 million from Wall Street, is even more absurd. Bernie Sanders, who has never accepted corporate PAC money in his life.” Earlier this week CNN reported that Sanders attended fundraisers on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) along with other senators, which were attended by lobbyists from the financial industry. Clinton yesterday accused Sanders of taking money from Wall Street, through that committee. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more.

CLINTON CAMPAIGN LEANS HEAVILY ON FEMINISM TO MAKE CASE AGAINST SANDERS. In the closing days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton has been leaning heavily on feminism to make a case against her opponent Bernie Sanders. On Sunday, Bill Clinton unleashed a tirade aimed at people who he alleges are Sanders supporters who he said are making “vicious” and “sexist” comments to Clinton supporters online. Although Bill Clinton did not mention the group by name, it seemed he was referring to the so-called “Bernie Bros” -- a term used by some Clinton allies to disparage some male Sanders supporters who allegedly write sexist comments to Clinton supporters online. It is unclear how widespread such commentary is online, and Sanders repudiated it. "It's disgusting. We don't want that crap,” Sanders said during an interview on CNN on Sunday. ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ has more.

CHRISTIE GETS DOWN ON ONE KNEE TO WOO NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER. You would have thought he was asking for her hand in marriage, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS writes. But when a woman at Chris Christie’s first town hall Monday morning in Hudson, New Hampshire, introduced herself as an undecided voter who was leaning toward supporting him but wasn’t quite convinced, the New Jersey governor knelt down on his knee, proposal-style, to ask for her vote. "I hope she votes for me. I’ve got dirt all over my pants,” Christie said after listening to her. She said she needed convincing on the issue of Social Security, and when the woman eventually said he had won her over, the audience cheered.

RUBIO ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE HIS MESSAGE. At his headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire Marco Rubio told ABC’s TOM LLAMAS that he was not going to change his message. He reiterated that Obama is "doing terrible damage to America in a way that he planned to change this country." “We're not going to change our message the entire campaign right up to the general election when we defeat Hillary Clinton,” Rubio said yesterday. “Barack Obama's doing terrible damage to America in a way that he planned to change this country, the role of government in our country, the role of America in the world and this election is about reversing all of that damage.” Rubio got flak from Chris Christie during Saturday’s ABC News Republican debate in New Hampshire for repeating the same attack lines about President Obama four times.


BLOOMBERG SAYS HE’S CONSIDERING PRESIDENTIAL BID. Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg confirmed Monday that he is weighing the option of launching a presidential bid, ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON reports. Bloomberg told the Financial Times he is looking at "all options" regarding a possible bid. He strongly condemned the 2016 campaign rhetoric, calling the discussions “distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to voters."


@JamesPindell: Not Dixville > A N.H. city that’s notably good at picking winners … #fitn #nhpolitics

@jeffzeleny: The most overheard thing at our polling place so far: "Would you like to go back to being an independent when you're done?" "Yes." #FITN

@wpjenna: On Fox, Trump explains why it was okay for him to repeat a vulgar term used by a woman at his rally last night: "It was like a retweet."

@JohnJHarwood: NH hairdresser backing Hillary: "She's sort of a conservative Democrat, you know? not that liberal." 

@mviser: Hillary Clinton runs on Dunkin’: Her campaign has spent far more on Dunks than any other. …