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."
College graduates, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, opted narrowly for Clinton - 38 percent to Obama's 37 percent, according to the polling.
Those polled who called themselves very liberal or moderate went with Clinton over Obama - although by less than two percentage points in each - and those who said they are somewhat liberal were evenly split.
Pundits also were citing the role of former President Bill Clinton in helping his wife recover from what pre-primary polls were suggesting was a deficit of 9 percentage points to Obama in New Hampshire.
The former president spent Tuesday in Hanover, home to Dartmouth College - where Obama had been expected to win handily.
"They dispatched him to the area that Obama was surging," said CNN analyst Donna Brazille, who managed former Vice-President Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "I think it had the effect of tamping down Obama support and giving Senator Clinton a real reason to come back in this race."
New Hampshire was considered crucial to Clinton's campaign. If Obama had been able to sweep Iowa and New Hampshire - after months of Clinton being considered the frontrunner among Democrats - it could have given him powerful momentum going into future primaries.
I loved her speech to NH supporters. I AM a Democratic diehard. So I would agree with this article about this win in NH.
I do not want a Democratic unknown/untested/newbie to be who the Democrats put forth.
I want to be proud that the Democrats produce terrific politicians, terrific leaders, and have a long and great history of doing so.
We aren't "Oprah-robots."
I wonder how many women and illegal aliens voted twice? :)
Hillary has cried once in 35 years. It just so happened to be the other night when it looked as if she had been kicked out of the sandbox.
She was not crying for America, She was not crying at all.
If you believe the tears were genuine, maybe they came up as result of loosing the playground battle.
She cried, women felt bad, men knew she is a fake and voted Obama. Anyone else not surprised?
It seems like the 'fairy tale' is about to unravel. Americans are finally beginning to take a hard look at the people behind the speeches.!
It is really pathetic that women fell for her tears..we will never get any respect this way if we are so easily manipulated.
Also really INTERESTING that ALL the polls were wrong.
Moving on....from a delegates standpoint, Obama gets the same number as her from NH so, Obama supporters, use this as some fuel to get yourselves fired up again!!!!
It was a great victory for Hillary. And for the Democrats. For the first time in history there is a viable female presidential candidate. And she is more viable than Obama. Obama may win on style but Hillary wins on substance. If this were a job interview and you compared resumes side by side without knowing the names of the candidates, Hillary is a no-brainer. Good thing that people realized that in New Hampshire.
Hillary has a better chance against John McCain than Obama does. Obama is still wet behind the ears. I can't imagine him competing against the elder statesman John McCain. Experience absolutely matters and Obama just doesn't have it.
How can you call this a comeback. Before Iawo, she was supposed to win by a landslide. Then Obama wins IAWO, which nobody expected, I didnt expect him to win NH either. Obama should be the comeback king because he was never given a chance until last week. Before the news media starts crowning Hilary queen, lets see what the rest of the nation thinks.
She led the entire evening, never once trailing Obama. Apparently, the New Hampshire Democrats and women voters did their homework, paid attention to substance over hype and did the right thing. Congratulations New Hampshire for getting it exactly right and restoring my faith in the American voters.
I am a 50 yr old female pediatrician who first met Bill Clinton @ my high school honor society induction when he was Arkansas' Atty General. Bill, and now Hillary, have been "retooling " and reinventing their collective voice since they first stepped in front of a microphone.
I am not Hillary's base- her egocentric remorse and emotive moment captured on camera is ludicrous when compared with the dispair faced by both John McCain and John Edwards in their lifetime
She got the women back - by displaying vulnerability?
Maybe it's because I'm more intelligent than the majority of my peers of the fair sex, but I didn't fall for that act for once second. I'm sorry, women of New Hampshire. You've been had. You fell for the oldest trick in the book.
Women like us - intelligent, strong-willed, and formidable - we don't cry, unless it's on cue. Most of us have mastered our weepy side by the time we're in our thirties, and only let it slip through when it is expedient to our purposes. It could be for something as petulant as not wanting to cook dinner, or in her case not wanting to lose another election.
I would like the woman who asked that question to come forward with her opinion on Hillary's reaction now that the election is over. Unless she was a planted question, such as the kind Hillary has been known to stoop too. Actually, I'd like to know that as well.
I am a woman and a die hard Dem whatever that means and I REFUSE TO VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON!
I have never missed an election in my 36 years, but I will vote for a McCain BEFORE I would vote for her!!!
Wait til California! We like our politicians to stand for something more than more of the same. Out here, Hillary does not have a chance against Obama or Edwards!!!
I'm counting the days...
It is not that hard to figure out, really. The polls themselves were the downfall of Obama. People want to see there vote count. When it looked like Obama had a sizable lead over Clinton many independents went over to McCain..TO MAKE THEIR VOTES COUNT..They did. It handed Clinton a shocking victory. The polls probably were not actually that far off when they were taken, but it was people's response to those polls that brought about the actual results..
Seriously, what is wrong with the women of the United States, and the men too for that matter.
How can any self respecting liberal woman cast their vote for an educated supposedly "independant" woman like Hillary. She stood by her man like a country western singer while he cheated on her right in front of her. She smiled and acted like it was ll okay.
If any one of your friends' husbands was cheating on her the way Bill did to Hillary and they stayed with him, you would lose all respect for her.
And what is all this she says about chnage?? What you mean change from the war in Iraq that you voted for? You mean change from the fast track to a recession that we're on partly due to the war you voted for? How can she expect us to vote for chnage in a candidate whose votes we are trying to bring change from??
Obama voted no on the war. If she had and then pursuaded all the people she is supposedly so influential over to vote no as well, we would not be in this mess to begin with.
Not to mention that every man and woman that votes for Hillary is really voting to put a republican in office. We all know this country is divided 50/50 and no republican would touch her with a 50 foot pole.
Obama is the only democratic candidate who could actually beat a republican.
Do us all a favor and VOTE OBAMA!!!!
I can't believe that people voted for Hillary just because of a few tears – it struck me more like a petulant child who wasn't getting her own way. I am extremely irritated by her and everyone else that thinks I will vote for her just because i am a female – I will vote for teh person I who I think will be the best president regardless of their sex or race or religion. Her comments on on suddenly being about change and that her being a woman would be the biggest change has to be one of the stupidest comments she's made. I liked her a lot more before the elections started – I don't like the way she now sounds like Guiliani trying to scare us into voting for her.
Lets not forget the 16,000 plus votes that went towards Rep. Ron Paul. I think it is a safe presumption that many were independent, and many of those voters would most likely voice Sen. Obama as their second choice, enough that could have made up the difference.
The media and pollsters underestimating Rep. Paul is also a likely factor in the poll numbers being so wrong the hours leading up to the primary.
I can't stand how the media is claiming she won just because of woman voters...that's so sexist. God forbid she won a primary because she is the best cadidate.
where are all the financed BANK ROLLED obama bloggers?????!!!!!!! they are going home in bus loads.....and GO AWAY OPRAH, WE CAN'T BE BOUGHT!..... NH has spoken....... and so will the rest of the country on Super Tuesday.
WE NEED TO DEFEND OUR COUNTRY FROM OUR IDEALS AND STRENGTHS... AND MAKE IT A BETTER WORLD THAN THE ONE WE HAVE INHERITED...HILLARY IS NOT A STATUS QUO BUT A VISION TO A BETTER NATION, regardless......
Thankfully, I will sleep better tomorrow............because America will choose wisely.;
Let us not forget that this was by no means a mandate vote. I am a middle-aged, single, working mother trying to pay for college for my two children while over 1/4 of my monthly income goes to insurance premiums. I don't feel that Hillary "Rodham" Clinton represents my interests. She is on the payroll of two many special interests to be interested in me.
i knew she was the winner
I will vote for HIllary Clinton not because she is a woman but because she is a brilliant woman. She has paid her dues both professionally and personally and deserves to be our president. Bill Clinton is an asset to her and why not the other candidates have their spouses by their sides for support. Bill's experience will be a great help.
I think Hillary's turn around can be attributed to a perfectly timed and canned sniffle which played perfectly to a female base. It also astounds me that in a country that limits itself to two parties we are looking to limit ourselves to two families, 28 years of Bushes and Clintons, 43 years if she wins. That is appalling to me. Don't get me wrong I think Bill was a great president but change this year needs to be about more that the D or R behind your name.
Clinton boasts a ready to go, day one experience. I'm sorry Miss but Bill Richardson has a better resume than you do. I don't think a resume equal’s leadership, what really matters is the ability to inspire, to challenge and to instill confidence that we, "WE" can be more. Great leadership is what inspires greatness. Obama eloquently summed up the American Spirit as "Yes WE Can", all I hear from Hillary is I, I, I. Obama is truthfully the first Presidential candidate I have ever been inspired by. America – now is the time for change, now is the time for true uniting leadership, now is the time to believe America can look forward with anticipation not back with reminisce.
I am not surprised that very few talking heads have considered that the media and political pundits changed the course of the democratic primary today by their unfair treatment of Mrs. Clinton since Iowa. I am willing to bet that many men and women in New Hampshire got sick of all the negative press and wanted send you all a message that we think you are also a part of the problem that needs to be changed. You are supposed to report the news, not change the course of history. Think about it. Carl Ward, Washington, Missouri.