like John McCain will be returning to New Hampshire on Sunday for one final visit, less than 48 hours before polls open here. There has been some suggestion
that given the difficult electoral map
he currently faces, New Hampshire could play a potentially critical role in a close McCain victory. I suppose it is possible that McCain’s campaign views this visit as an important tactical decision, but as my colleague Dante Scala suggests
, McCain faces a pretty tall order in trying to close the gap with Barack Obama in the Granite State.
So why else would McCain want to come back again at the last minute? In last week’s Portsmouth Herald/Seacoast Sunday column
, I offered some perspective on his deep connection to the state. Anyone who has watched McCain campaign here over the years knows he derives a tremendous amount of psychic energy from our retail politics experience. If the candidate and his campaign genuinely believe
they are gaining momentum in the final hours of the contest, then perhaps McCain simply wants one final rub of his granite talisman, with the hope of recapturing the New Hampshire Primary mojo that has served him so well over the past decade.
Posted On: 10-31-2008 19:03:44 by Jim Splaine
Hi Dean. I enjoy your commentary on television shows, and read your Blog and writings often. I haven't responded much, but should now and then, so here's a first try.
I have been watching news media build up New Hampshire through the years for John McCain into something it's not -- it's not John McCain Country. I recently did some analysis, and here it is:
John McCain and New Hampshire aren't having a love affair. Maybe John McCain loves New Hampshire, and that's nice -- after all, he did receive enough Republican votes here in 2000 and 2008 to keep his campaigns going in those years. But it's simply not true that New Hampshire loves this guy, although I think most of us respect and appreciate his long service to America.
One of the more exasperating comments I hear news media personalities who should know better, or should be doing more accurate reporting, is that "New Hampshire is John McCain country." Baloney. New Hampshire has never been "his state.'
In 2000 he faced a stumbling George W. Bush in the New Hampshire First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary. In the NH Primary on February 1st, 2000, some 239,523 Republicans sloshed to the polls on a cold winter day. John McCain received 115,606 of those votes -- about 48%. George W. Bush got 72,330 votes -- even then the voters were smartening up about him. The rest of the wealth of Republican votes was spread around to names like Forbes, Keyes, Bauer, and a splattering of others. Umm, spreading the wealth around probably got its start in John McCain's mindset that year.
That wasn't too bad for McCain in 2000. Of course, shortly after leaving New Hampshire he walked into walls or off a cliff depending on your description down South, and ended up spending the past eight years not doing much in the United States Senate.
By the way, in that primary of February 1, 2000, there were 156,862 Democrats voting -- not exactly an excited electorate. I remember it well. Most of us voted for Al Gore, but Bill Bradley wasn't far behind. We know what happened after that, and if, if, if -- if Florida, if the US Supreme Court, if New Hampshire, if he didn't roll his eyes, if -- he would be winding up two terms as President.
Update to 2008. Least we forget, John McCain was able to slip in between a pile of conservative Republicans. He was able to appear like the alternative to the far right, and he received 88,713 votes from Republicans in the NH Primary on January 8, 2008. Not bad, except there were some 241,039 Republicans voting -- so McCain this time around got only about 36% of those voting.
It was enough, however, for John McCain to top the New Hampshire Republican ballot because the rest of the candidates spread the balance of the votes -- Mitt Romney coming in second with 75,675, and names like Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Duncan Hunter getting the rest. Ohhhhh -- Barack Obama got the write-ins of 1,996 Republicans and Hillary Clinton got 1,828 write-ins, not too bad for Republicans who like Democrats, and who can vote for Democrats again in less than two weeks.
That same election, January 8th of this year, 288,672 Democrats voted. Compare that with the 156,862 Democrats who voted in the 2000 Primary. More than 130,000 additional Democrats turned out this year in our Primary. Some excitement there, huh? Among the Republicans, compared with 239,523 voting in the 2000 Primary there were only about 1,500 more Republicans voting this year. Many stayed home.
At the January 8th Democratic Presidential Primary, Barack Obama got 104,815 votes -- some 16,000 votes more than John McCain received on January 8th. Hillary Clinton placed first with 112,404, and you can bet almost all will be voting for Barack Obama on November 4th. So will those who voted for the other Democratic Presidential candidates, who included Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, and Mike Gravel.
Bottom line, for those who are bottom line types, is this: As of September 9th, there were 868,668 registered voters in New Hampshire. By now in late October there are quite a few more, and many others are expected to sign up as new voters on November 4th.
So, take a look at it: On January 8th of this year John McCain received 88,713 votes -- certainly enough to win a Republican Primary where he staked out the "moderate" ground and there were half a dozen other candidates splitting the more conservative elements of the party.
But of ALL New Hampshire registered voters, John McCain received only about 10.2% this year. This isn't "John McCain Country" by a long shot. And considering the way the Democrats are united this year, and with the motivating issues to encourage people to vote being Iraq, health care, Global Warming and Climate Change, education, tax reform and fairness, and our current economic dilemma -- Barack Obama will do very well.
Those of us who support him have to keep at it right through to Tuesday, November 4th at 8:00 PM, but he'll beat John McCain in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has never been John McCain Country. But after November 4th, we'll be able to call it a proud place for President Barack Obama to come back to whenever he wants.
So Dean, I offer that for your future thoughts. - Jim
Post your comment below.