(CNN) - Like Iowa Democrats before them, more than half of Democratic voters in New Hampshire ranked "change" as the most important quality they were looking for in a candidate, according to CNN exit polls. Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton by 26 percentage points in that category.
But Clinton easily bested Obama among voters who ranked two key qualities most important: "experience" (by an enormous 65 percentage points) and "cares about people" (by a 21-point margin).
John Edwards won the "cares about people" category in Iowa, but the former North Carolina senator was much less of a factor in New Hampshire, and Clinton seems to be the clear beneficiary of that. It will be interesting to if Edwards has a similar effect on the race in the upcoming states.
– CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton claimed a come-from-behind victory in New Hampshire's Democratic primary late Tuesday, edging out her Senate colleague, Barack Obama, after placing third in the Iowa caucuses.
Flanked by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea, the New York senator told supporters she "found her own voice" in the five days since Iowa, and promised them "we are in it for the long run."
"I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I'm so gratified that you responded," she said. "Now let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me."
Obama, the first-term Illinois senator, had beaten her in Iowa and saw his lead grow to near-double digits in polls taken just before the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary. But with 81 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Clinton led the Democratic field with 39 percent of the vote.
Obama had 37 percent and conceded defeat shortly before Clinton spoke. Former Sen. John Edwards, who placed second in Iowa, had 17 percent, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich trailed in single digits.
Clinton had worked to blunt Obama's message of change by pointing to her own record as an advocate for children and health-care reform, which she called "the work of my life."
"For all the ups and downs of this campaign, you helped remind everyone that politics isn't a game," she said. "This campaign is about people, about making a difference in your lives, about making sure that everyone in this country has the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential."
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Solid support from registered Democrats and
women were crucial Tuesday as Sen. Hillary Clinton reversed her third-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses to take a narrow victory over rival Barack Obama in New Hampshire's presidential primary, results from exit polls suggest.
With 72 percent of precincts reporting, CNN projected Clinton the winner of the first-in-the-nation primary with 39 percent of the vote to Obama's 36.
Self-styled independents, who made up 43 percent of all voters polled, said they voted for Obama by a margin of 43 percent to 31 percent for Clinton.
But Clinton was ahead of Obama 45 percent to 34 percent among those who said they were registered Democrats. Those voters made up a majority - 54 percent - of all those respondents.
Clinton also claimed the majority of women's votes, according to the polling. That's in contrast to last week's Iowa caucuses, in which Obama surprised observers by stealing the female vote from Clinton.
According to the exit polls, Clinton had a sizable lead over Obama among women, 47 percent to 34 percent. Analysts say that shift was crucial to the Clinton turnaround.
"If I had a single word, the word would be 'women,' " said CNN political analyst Bill Schneider. "She got the women back."
(CNN) - President Bush is hundreds of miles away from New Hampshire, but he had a powerful effect on the state's Republican presidential primary, according to CNN exit polls.
Roughly half of Republican primary voters had a negative opinion of the Bush administration, and those voters significantly went for Arizona Sen. John McCain by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Of the GOP voters who said they had a positive opinion of the Bush administration, 37 percent voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
So while Romney tried heavily to be the candidate of change in the closing days of the New Hampshire campaign, voters overwhelmingly believed that McCain better represents the change candidate.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Failing to parlay his win in last week's Iowa caucuses to a victory in the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Barack Obama said he was "still fired up and ready to go."
The junior senator from Illinois congratulated Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York for her win and praised "all the candidates in this race" as "patriots who serve this country honorably."
"But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago, is because it's not just about what I will do as president," he said. "It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it. That's what this election is all about."
CNN projected Clinton to win with 72 percent of precincts counted, basing it on reported results, exit polls and other statistical models.
As she had most of the night, Clinton held a 39 percent to 37 percent lead over Obama with 81 percent of the precincts in.
But Obama assailed critics who he said doubted his campaign and said that the record numbers of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire showed that "there is something happening in America."
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Former Sen. John Edwards painted himself as the candidate of the voiceless Tuesday night after tracking a distant third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
Noting that there are "two states down, 48 states to go" in primary and caucus voting, the 2004 vice presidential nominee said that only about 1 percent of Americans had voted so far and that the other "99 percent deserve to be heard."
"We have had too much of voices not being heard," he said to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. " ... That's what this battle is about. It's not about me. It's about the cause of giving voice to all those whose voices are not being heard in this democracy."
Edwards pledged to continue his fight to expand healthcare coverage, to fight global warming, protect the environment, end poverty and create new jobs.
"We know what needs to be done," he said. "The only question is whether we have the backbone and the will and the determination to get there."
"I am in this race to the convention, where I intend to be the nominee of my party," he said. "And I am in this race until we have actually restored the American dream and strengthened and restored the middle class of America."
Edwards narrowly beat Sen. Hillary Clinton for second place in the Iowa caucuses last week, but CNN projected Edwards to finish third in New Hampshire, while the race for first between Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama was too close to call. CNN made the projection with 10 percent of precincts counted, basing it on reported results, exit polls and other statistical models.
With 65 percent of the Granite State's precincts counted, Edwards had 17 percent of the vote to Clinton's 39 percent and Obama's 36 percent.
Related video: Edwards: '48 states left'
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – After a disappointing third in the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the nation's first Democratic primary, CNN projects with 72 percent of precincts reporting.
CNN based the projection on those New Hampshire precincts that have reported results, exit polls and other statistical models - including the number of votes outstanding in areas where Clinton is expected to do well.
Clinton held 39 percent of the vote to Obama's 36 percent.
(CNN) – New Hampshire Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly believe Barack Obama can better unite the country than Hillary Clinton can, according to CNN exit polls.
Fifty percent said the Illinois senator is the most able to unite, compared to 29 percent who cited Clinton. More New Hampshire Democrats also said Obama could win a general election race: 46 percent said the Illinois senator has the best shot against a Republican, compared to 36 percent for Clinton.
But unfortunately for Obama, electability proved to be the least important factor when New Hampshire Democratic primary voters decided on a candidate. Only 7 percent said they were most concerned with the candidate's chance of being elected next November.
– CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Hillary Clinton's team still entertains the possibility she will lose. "It's gonna be close," they tell CNN. They are waiting on Hanover - "it's a straight-up college town" - and Durham, two areas they think it is possible Obama will do very well. But they say they are coming in two and three points ahead in areas they expected to lose.