January 8th, 2008
06:21 PM ET
13 years ago

Last-minute decisions drive many, exit polls show

Many voters waited until election day to settle on their choice.

Many voters waited until election day to settle on their choice.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - New Hampshire voters turned out in higher-than-expected numbers to vote in Tuesday's presidential primaries, with a sizable chunk making decisions on who to support at the last minute, according to early exit polls.

Eighteen percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats said they settled on a candidate on Election Day.

A majority of Democrats said the issues were the most important factor in how they voted, while most Republicans said the candidates' personal qualities were most important to their decision.

Voters from both parties rated the economy their top issue and the war in Iraq second - but concerns about illegal immigration rated third among Republicans, while Democrats said health care was just behind Iraq.

Filed under: Exit Polls • New Hampshire
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Dan

    The comment above about polls being abolished is correct. However the media should be also constrained. I truly wonder how much Obama's win in Iowa really matters to New Hampshire (and other state) voters and how much the Greatest Team in TV Politics is making it matter. In the old days the voter decided who to vote for based on understanding the news not by being brainwashed by it.

    January 8, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. david enix

    The Democratic Party had better wake up and smell the roses, I live in a southern state and I have never voted for a Republican. But if I have to choose from Obama and any Republican. I guess me and my entire family will be voting for a Republican President regardless who the nominee is. We need to choose a canidiate that can win in the south and I know Obama can't win in the south. We have come along way in the south but not far enough to elect Obama as President. Wake up in the North and realize that electability is going to play a big role on this Falls election.

    January 8, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. lasmas

    I think that Hillary supporters are now getting a dose of what the republicans have had to put up with in the MSM for decades. Rest assured, I'm playing my tiny violin. O'Bama is a television phenomena!

    January 8, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. political hack

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for 24 years of two-family rule in the US. That doesn't sound like democracy to me.

    January 8, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Catherine Bombac

    One example of a fight Hilary did for women

    As leaders on reproductive choice and women's health, we believe it is important for voters in New Hampshire to have the facts about Hillary's demonstrated record of commitment to reproductive choice versus Barack Obama's record – and not be misled by unfounded accusations. Let's look at the facts.

    First and foremost, there should be no question of Hillary Clinton's leadership on issues of sex education, contraception and choice:
    Hillary spoke out on the Senate floor in opposition to Supreme Court nominees Roberts and Alito about her concern that Roe v. Wade was in danger, a fear that unfortunately was realized with the Court's Gonzales v. Carhart decision, which marked a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman's right to choose and recognized the importance of women's health.
    Hillary led the three-year fight in the Senate, with Senator Patty Murray of Washington State, to force the Bush administration to make a decision on over-the-counter access to Plan B emergency contraception. This important birth control option for women absolutely would not have happened if Hillary had not stood up to the Bush White House. And when the Bush administration refused to make Plan B available to our servicewomen abroad, Hillary introduced legislation to make it available.
    Hillary has taken the lead in supporting family planning in the U.S. Senate. Hillary doesn't just talk about the importance of family planning, she teamed up with Senator Harry Reid to introduce the Prevention First Act, which would provide the first federal funding for comprehensive sex education and expand Medicaid family planning services.
    As First Lady, she worked to form the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which led to a major drop in teen pregnancies, and led efforts to increase federal funding of family planning.
    Second, as the Clinton campaign states, as a State Senator, Senator Obama voted "present" – instead of "yes" or "no" – seven times on issues related to protecting a women's right to choose. Illinois NOW cited Obama's "present" votes on tough choice issues in the Illinois State Legislature when explaining why they would not endorse him. The difference between Hillary's repeatedly standing up strong on choice and Obama's unwillingness to vote "yes" or "no" is a clear contrast, and we believe the voters in New Hampshire deserve to know this difference.

    We support Hillary Clinton because she never ducked when choice was at stake. She has a lifelong commitment to standing up for women on the issue of choice and many other important issues like pay equity, fairness in the workplace, and microenterprise loans for women in developing countries. There is no doubt that as President, Hillary Clinton will stand by us and stand strong for choice.

    January 8, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. caywen

    I was supporting Obama, but I made a last minute decision! That decision was to not change my mind.

    January 8, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  7. DonAult


    January 8, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. Blastie

    David. So, you're saying that because you're from the South, you and none of your friends will vote for a black man? Then you, buddy, are part of the problem you're supposedly warning us about. How big of you to remind us that racists like you would be the reason he can't get elected. Thanks for the headsup.

    As for constraining the media, Dan???? That's what the GOP has wanted to do for years now. Trust me. You don't want that. The American public is being brainwashed by wingnut radio hosts and Fox so-called News. The general media, newspapers and TV news, are making a lot of sacrifices of time, money, family and health to get you every piece of information you need – and a lot you don't. A free media is all you've got, pal. Do not bite the hand that keeps you free.

    January 8, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. carol

    john.smith – Kennedy had 14 years in the Senate and a war hero. Stop thinking that a well rehearsed speech written out of Hollywood is the same thing. The only thing I have heard from Obama and Oprah is how presidential he looks. Shut up!

    January 8, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. gene

    CNN, MSNBC and FOX are all about the same. At least when you watch FOX you know what you are going to get. MSNBC and NBC are a disgrace. They have for the last 3 months hhave done nothing but bash Hillary and become cheer leaders for Obama. None of Obama's negatives get mentioned and all of HIllary's get headlines. Obama can not win the general election. He will win no southern or border states and lose New Jersey, New York, Michigan and Pa. Rudy and or John Mccain will rip him apart. Democrats, not these Clinton haters or independents, who should not be able to determine who are candidate should be, will be voting . Hillary will win.

    January 8, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. david enix

    What is the Job of the President of the United States. I will tell you all in case you forgot, The job ot the President of the United States is to denfend the Constituition of the United States both foriegn and domestic. And to be Commander and Chief of our armed forces. We forget that Congress makes policy and the President signs it into Law. All these Ideas that these Canidiates say they are going to do, they can't do unless the Congress passes the laws brought before them. Ask your self when you go to the polls, who best can defend the Constituition of the United States, How about looking up the Job discription of the President and then you can make a fair and acurate vote at the polls. They can't change health care, They can't fight corporate greed, They can't do alot of things they say they can do because their job discription want allow them to do so. CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF, FIND THE FACTS AND THEN VOTE.

    January 8, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |

    Hi, my comment comes from Germany. I do think that the best Vote is Hillary Clinton. Hillary and Bill Clinton they know what to do. They dont have to work themself into the White House, they know all the thinks. America has no Time . Under "Clinton" the unemployemend rate whas very low. I just hope that AmericA votes for the right person. For me it is Hillary Clinton. I am a German Citizen. My son is American so are my Grandchildren. And they need help. I am following CNN all day long because i want to know what is going on and i am very interessted where America is going to stand. So i Hope that American poeple think very whise about what they are doing. America need to get ahead very fast.

    January 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Jeff from Jersey

    It's pointless at this point to tout your candidate in New Hampshire here.If the still undecided have to resort to reading some of the most misinformed and ignorant posts since the invention of the internet in search of some pearl of wisdom or nugget of truth to help them make their decision then we are all doomed!

    January 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. andy

    don't use JFK he brought out the best of us for vietnam silly ! my god read your history don't just listen to words , he killed many american kids with his war yes JKF's at least his brother bobby admitted ! that was a change

    January 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. Steve

    Bill and Hillary should go quietly into the night...It is time for Teddy Kennedy and other Democratic Party elders to endorse Obama.

    I am a Republican that is going to vote for Obama. It's time to clear the field and prepare for the convention then the general election.


    January 8, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    I agree DonAult.. if you going to run for President then you should have to quit your Senate or Governors job.

    January 8, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. deaconbblues

    "I believe that senator Clinton is the best choice for president. 35 years she has been in polotics which is more than Edwards and Obama combined. Democrats pledge they want change. Well Obama and Edwards are running on promise. We all know you cant trust poloticians!!! Hillary has not promised change… she has delivered it for over 35 years!!!"

    Jesse........can you name ONE thing that she has accomplished in her 35 years of "polotical" experience?

    January 8, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. carol

    Stop the bigotry. A mysogenist is just as bad as a racist. Stay on the subject. Experience vs. Inexperience.

    January 8, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. david enix

    Blastie you can call me what ever you want, I served 20 yrs for my country to voice my opinion how ever I please. I just don't think Obamo can win in November and he want win with my vote, I can care less what my family does. I speak for myself and myself only.

    January 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Gracey Knowle, Dallas

    Apart from the family planning thing(yawn) what has Hillary achieved in thirty – five years?

    January 8, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. BV

    "Kennedy had 14 years in the Senate and a war hero."
    Obama has over a decade of experience in politics and has over two decades of public service experience.
    Truth be told, Obama was a state senator long before Hillary Clinton even thought about riding Bill's coattails and taking credit for his accomplishments.
    I love Bill. He WAS a great President. Hillary is not Bill. I'm proud to finally vote for a good choice, and not just 'not GW Bush.' She's a nice senator, but she just doesn't have the va va voom. GW Bush had it (admit it, people used to love him, especially compared to Gore who they saw as wooden). Reagan had it (Lord knows how, but he did). Bill had it (Most charming POTUS since JFK). Obama has it–there's no denying it. Hillary...doesn't.

    January 8, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Catherine Bombac

    More info on what Hilary will do

    As president, Hillary will:

    Lower taxes for middle class families by: extending the middle class tax cuts including child tax credit and marriage penalty relief, offering new tax cuts for healthcare, college and retirement, and expanding the EITC and the child care tax credit.
    Harness the power of innovation to create high wage jobs of the 21st Century. Investments in alternative energy can create new jobs for the 21st century; expanded access to broadband will bring opportunities to underserved and disadvantaged communities; the manufacturing base can be re-energized through creative partnerships; and increased government support for research will stimulate the development of new technologies and life-saving medicines. Hillary will restore integrity to science policy, reversing Bush administration policies that are holding our nation back.
    Empower our workers and ensure that all Americans contribute their fair share. Hillary will ensure that unions, which have played an important role in forming and sustaining the middle class, are strong. She will also ensure that trade policies work for average Americans. Trade policy must raise our standard of living, and they must have strong protections for workers and the environment.
    Restore the basic bargain. Hillary will restore the basic bargain that if Americans work hard and take responsibility, government will do its part to make sure they have the tools to get ahead.
    Return to fiscal responsibility. After six and a half year of President Bush's fiscal irresponsibility, Hillary wants America to regain control of its destiny. She will move back toward a balanced budget and surpluses. Hillary believes that we should develop a set of budget rules similar to those we had in the 90s which required us to fund new expenditures with new revenues or cuts in other areas.

    January 8, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Robert Robertovich

    Before this dialogue loses its last trace of civility, please remember that we are selecting a president from some of the nation's most honorable public servants, independent of party affliation. I am grateful that such persons as Mitt Romney, Barrack Obama, and John McCain have offered us their continued service, and as an American, I look forward to supporting and sustaining whomever the electorate chooses, whether or not I agree with their policies.

    Please be American and keep it civil.

    January 8, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. gg

    Women ....you should be ashamed of yourselves. Finally, you have the opportunity to break the glass ceiling of our male-ruled presidency. but you still want to be lead by men......my, my, my you have a long way to go.....and your poor, poor daughters need to be strangled because you were not real women to take a important step to move forward.......you need not march nor go to jail ...just vote for a woman.......Change......what greater change could you want than a woman becoming the President of the USA. and FINALLY you would have someone speaking for you. It doesn't take a brilliant mind nor even a politically inspired mind.......just the independent mind of a REAL WOMAN seeking finally an equal place in this democracy. Go to vote......the woman running on OUR behalf is Hillary Clinton. Vote for her and maybe next time one of your daughters may want to run for that spot and then you can say.......you helped make that opportunity happen. Vote for a man.......and it will be business as usual........no matter the wonderfully crafted speeches spieled out to you. If a woman doesn't make it this time nor will your daughters or granddaughters. It once again will take a long, long, time until we see a real change...... a WOMAN AS PRESIDENT. The baloney about Hillary's garbage.....there are more women in the USA than men. There is no reason why she shouldn't win in a LANDSLIDE if only there were..........real women ......that is our big problem.......finding REAL, INDEPENDENT, SECUR E, FUTURISTIC THINKING WOMEN.

    January 8, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. terry

    One of the interesting things my group is discussing today is how well will Clinton do?. And if she falls too far behind in the polls will we will most likely return to a Republican candidate. Our group is made up of the senior generation of old military personnel and mid- managers. We believe that Hillary will provide the best opportunity for our country's middle America class to prosper. As managers and leaders we were caught up during the era where people were hired and promoted based on race. We were just discussing, whether the race card and the old adages that women have no place in the government or business world would surface. Sadly, today we're seeing this adage to reappear. We are a group that were attempting to break the mold and move forward in supporting a candidate we believe offered the American middle class the best opportunity to progress and prosper. Sadly, we agree if OBAMA is selected as a Democratic candidate. We would find ourselves back in the Republican arena looking for a candidate. We were of the opinion that McCain would not fit our bill as candidate for prosperity. We are observing this race very closely.

    January 8, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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