February 9, 2016

Don’t Be Fooled: New Hampshire Is “Clinton Country”


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:

It’s Clinton Country: In 1992, the voters of the Granite State famously made Bill Clinton the “comeback kid” as they launched his successful White House bid. In 2008, an infamous moment at a café in Portsmouth resurrected Secretary Clinton’s faltering campaign after a crushing loss in Iowa. As Time Magazine declared shortly after Secretary Clinton launched her most recent campaign last April, “New Hampshire has been Clinton-friendly country since 1992.”

It’s The Endorsements, Stupid: To date, Secretary Clinton’s endorsements in the Granite State have dwarfed those of Senator Sanders in both stature and quantity. The state’s leading Democrats and the entire Democratic congressional delegation are all firmly behind Clinton, including: Governor Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Representative Annie Kuster and former U.S. Representative (and current candidate) Carol Shea-Porter. Clinton also has the backing of 78 members of the New Hampshire House Democratic caucus and both of Democrats in the Granite State’s powerful executive council. Eight New Hampshire mayors in some of the state’s largest cities have lined up behind Clinton, as have four major daily newspapers.

Time Is Money: Having managed a campaign in New Hampshire, I learned that television ads alone do not win over voters in a vacuum (although they don’t hurt). Granite State voters require face-to-face attention where they can evaluate candidates up close and grill them on the important topics of the day. In Secretary Clinton’s case, she has had an abundance of both ads and campaign events. As of the start of February 2016, pro-Clinton groups have spent nearly a whopping five million dollars on the airwaves. And the Clinton family — Hillary, Bill and Chelsea — have held nearly 100 events over the course of the campaign.

Finally, don’t forget the infrastructure and the sheer manpower advantage of Team Clinton on the ground: 150 staffers, 11 field offices, eight GOTV centers and 10,000 plus volunteers in the Granite State alone.

One of the Clinton campaign’s leading talking points has been painting Senator Sanders with a home-field advantage representing the neighboring state of Vermont. There are two major flaws with that argument.

First, in a WMUR/UNH poll from May 2015 (the first after Clinton officially launched her candidacy) nearly one-third (28%) of New Hampshire primary voters had no idea who Bernie Sanders was. As a former First Lady, Secretary of State and U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton enjoyed 100 percent universal name identification.

Secondly, the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire voters live in the Boston media market, not Burlington, denying Sanders the large overlap of television exposure that Massachusetts’ presidential candidates and First In The Nation primary winners like Mike Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry, Mitt Romney have enjoyed in the past. In the 2008 Democratic primary, roughly 11 percent of voters lived in the Burlington media market compared to 83 percent in Boston and the remaining 6 percent in Portland, Maine.

Secretary Clinton should win tonight. She was leading Sanders by 44 points last summer. After all the time, money and effort she and her team put into this state, anything less than a resounding victory will be an abject failure.

(Check out America Rising PAC Executive Director Colin Reed’s post on Medium)