(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.
- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider