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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

How the White Working Class Voted in NH

Looking at vote totals in NH, Sanders was the top vote-getter by far, racking up a tally of 138,716 votes with 92 percent of the returns in, compared to Trump’s 2nd place finish of 92,417 votes. Clinton received 88,827, followed by Kasich’s 41,813 votes.
Of the more than half of a million ballots cast and 92 percent of the ballots counted, all of the Republican candidates together received more than 30 thousand more votes than the two Democratic candidates together.
Trump did well with white working class voters, while Sanders did even better. As Patrick Healey notes in his NYT article, “New Hampshire Takeaways: Trust, Experience and Message Count“:

In the 2008 Democratic primaries, Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Obama in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states partly because of solid support from working-class white voters. But Mr. Sanders prevailed with these voters in New Hampshire on Tuesday. Sixty-eight percent of white noncollege graduates supported him, as did 65 percent of people from families earning less than $50,000. On the Republican side, the same groups of voters broke strongly for Mr. Trump.

That would be 68 percent of white non college Democratic voters supporting Sanders. CNN Exit polling indicates Clinton received 30 percent of white Democratic voters with no college degree. Clearly, Sanders received more white working class votes than did any other candidate of either party.
Trump won with 41 percent of white Republican voters with no college degree, while Kasich received 12 percent of non college white Republican votes, as did Cruz. The rest of the GOP presidential candidates split the remaining 34 percent of the white working class Republican vote in NH.
Sen. Sanders clearly has traction with this often pivotal demographic group. It appears that he has struck a potent concern of white workers with his emphasis on reforms to rectify economic injustice and curb corporate political power. It will be interesting to see if his message resonates as the primary campaign heads south. It looks like the Clinton campaign needs stronger messaging to address these concerns.

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