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. Julie in NC

    As an Independent, I share this observation with no party bias. The American people are so unhappy and frustrated in 2008 that anyone could run and win! It reminds me of the political climate back in '76, when Ford had pardoned Nixon. It also reminds me of 2000, when sex appeared to be the worst thing in the White House. Both elections put us out of the frying pan and into the fire!

    January 8, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. carol

    Andy – JFK did not kill kids in Vietnam – that was LBJ. Read your history. He was a historian and knew that a war in Vietnam would be unsuccessful based on centuries of the Chinese attempting to conquer. LBJ and George W had the ignorance to think you can bomb somebody into Democracy.

    Go Hillary – I know she is going to be wonderful, and we will feel safe again.

    January 8, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Steffie

    It looks as if New Hampshire voters are going to do the right thing just as the Iowa voters did!!! Hooray!!! Honestly, the top three Democratic candidates are all BETTER SOLUTIONS than GWBush!!! We need experience yes-but look where all of that EXPERIENCE has gotten us in the last 8 years. I agree with John Smith's comment. We need Electable candidates, so register and get ready to support the OBAMA & EDWARDS ticket!!! Hillary can serve in the cabinet or take Condi's position and she could even run again in 2014 for President/VP as the baton is passed to the next Democrats to run the White House. We loss GORE in 2000 because we were divide, didn't all vote, and he was cheated out of the presidency...but had we had the numbers we wouldn't be in this situation having had all of these "EXPERIENCED LEADERS" yeah right... PEOPLE IT"S TIME FOR A MAJOR CHANGE IN THE WAY OUR GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR US & THE WAY THIS COUNTRY IS RUN and perceived around the globe. Obama/Edwards 2008!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. carol

    Gracey Knowle, Dallas – if your parents had used family planning, we wouldn't have one more uninformed citizen to explain things to.

    January 8, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. BV

    "Experience vs. Inexperience."
    Then why didn't Joe Biden win? Oh yeah, because Experience isn't everything. Terrible argument. Nobody cares about experience, its about WHO a candidate is. Clinton is a polarizing figure, who will deepen the divides in this country. Clinton will inspire the same kind of vitriol that Democrats now hurl at Bush. We don't need a flip of what's happening now–the same song with a different melody. Obama offers a clear and clean break with the kind of destructive us vs. them politics that have been with us since the days of Nixon-Goldwater.
    Drop the experience argument, it didn't work in Iowa, it failed AGAIN in NH, and it will bury you if you try it in Nevada and South Carolina, where the African American vote will smother Clinton, the Neo-Conservatives, and all others who seek to divide rather than unite. Its not about the Democrats winning and the Republicans losing. Its about AMERICA and the WORLD winning. Its about US! Thats why Obama is my candidate.

    January 8, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Ren

    Right on Blastie.

    I'm a Clinton supporter, myself. However, it frustrates and irks me that racism and sexism are being used largely to bring down both Clinton and Obama. It would be ideal that we leave those issues at the door and look at the REAL ISSUES! Let's elect someone based on his/her stance on the issues, his/her record, and his/her ability to make "change" happen. Do your homework, look at the records, leave the "isms" at the door!


    January 8, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Jacque Bauer

    Catherine – please, easy on the coffee!! Remember that CNN is the Clinton News Network, so if they are turning the knives on Miss Crocodile Tears, then the game must really be over.

    Clinton Toast – two slices, burnt and bitter, but oh so tasty!!

    January 8, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Barbara

    It is astonishing how many voters are undecided until the last minute. Why do they even vote if it ends up being a spontaneous decision rather than a well thought out choice for a candidate who they trust the most/believe in the most/ share most values with.
    This puts enormous pressure on the (already overworked) candidates, who basically have to court voters up to the voting booth.
    If there would be no clear distinction between candidates, this kind of vacillation would be more understandable!
    Do people also not make up their mind in the supermarket, until they get to the till?

    January 8, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. Sue Smith

    Given the long hard speeches to arouse the American public is not a good enough excuse to reduce Hilliary to tears ( the womanly wile). If she doesn't get her way with Lattiimer Putiin, will she break down and cry until he gives her her way?? She has to learn she can't win on her husband's economic strategy,etc. back in his time of the Presidency or is she telling us she ran the country then too?? Did she go home and cry on him yesterday also?

    January 8, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. Catherine Bombac


    What she said is true. I lived through it and I know. Some say, not validated, that because JFK was unwilling to committ to war in Viet Nam, Johnson miraculously became president..................Viet Nam and all the sadness that followed.

    My brother died there..........

    January 8, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Shawn in Zillah, WA

    Change, change, lets all talk about change!

    I am so sick of hearing about change! The only thing that is gonna change in Washington is the Head of State. Dosen't anyone realize that not one single presidential cantidate that became president has delivered the so called change they promised?

    Let's get ourselves back to reality! Lets talk about how REAL things!

    January 8, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. BV

    So you're suggesting that women vote for Hillary not because she has the best stand on the issues, not because she is the best person to lead the country, but rather, because she is a WOMAN?
    Do you realize how insulting this is to women, to men, and to Clinton? Women should be 'real, independent, etc' and vote for the candidate that best represents their views, not who also happens to use the same restaurant bathroom they do. Men aren't just lock-step morons who vote for men only like its a boy's club. How did Clinton get elected in NY state without any men? They all must have stayed home to watch football while the women went out to single handedly defeat her Republican rivals, right? Give me a break.
    Give women and men more credit. Your type of divisive hate speech is exactly the kind of change Obama hopes to bring. I can understand why you won't listen to his message. You seek to divide. I hope you'll choose to unite with us, and accomplish something both you and your children can be proud of.

    January 8, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. Terry

    Clinton should be ashamed of him self. it not Obama's fault that he and, his wife is a part of why this country is so screwed up and, if he is trying to allienate African Americans he's done a good job of it. So i'm going to jump on the Obama band wagon and, be a part of the solution not problem of old school politics

    January 8, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Kai

    Expats overseas get limited coverage on our elections except mostly through Fox News, (CNN – sadly provides good weather coverage, no exaggeration) which devotes substantial airing on Republican candidates, perspectives and panels. Why is it that the conservatives all support Obama? There is much bashing of Senator Clinton. One is led to draw the conclusion that the conservatives do want Senator Obama to get the demcratic nomincation because they believe Senator Obama is in fact unable to carry the national election and is less likely to win against either Sen. McCain, fmr Govs Romney and Huckabee.

    January 8, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. architecture

    Democrats in the primary say that they have important issues but they are supporting a "Rock Star" who has not be asked how he plans to fix any of the problems with our country. If they want to ride a tidal wave, they should go to the beach.

    January 8, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Steffie

    I'm a native Southern and Southerns have loss many kids in Iraq, have homes in foreclosure due to subprime, are still waiting for New Orleans and nearby areas to recover from Katrina, are angry about all the children who are left behind due to inadequate and insufficiently funded school districts which leads to crime and poverty...NO sir, I beg to differ...you & your family might want 4 more years of this non-sense and more but wait for the big surprise in the SOUTH. SOUTHERNS voted for Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and they haven't all left for the North. The South especially the TRUE DEMOCRATIC SOUTH wil show up to SUPPORT OBAMA, EDWARDS, and/or HCLINTON come NOVEMBER!!! The suffering has to STOP...get over your ISMs, think about a BETTER future for this country, and VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!

    January 8, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. malik

    i think edwords will pull it out in second place because he's loves to lead big events. but obama will win new hampshire because he can touch peoples hearts not by talking the nice by talking the truth and will backup his words.

    malik johnson new britain obama supporter

    go obama and all demecrats except hillary clinton

    January 8, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. Catherine Bombac

    good nite , good luck and hopefully a good president in the making!


    January 8, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. davidvoter08

    Mr. Barack Hussain Obama is all hype, not substance!!! I finally understand why Americans elected Gorege W.Bush twice! They want a nice guy they can have a beer with, not a leader, not someone strong but less likable.

    January 8, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. Marvin - Houston, TX

    The presidency of the United States was not intended to be a family business. It's time to look at the pension for a retired president. Do we double it for husband and wife presidents? Do we get his and hers presidential libraries? Talk about a fairy tale! Give ME a break!

    January 8, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. Steffie

    Correction-Southerners 🙂

    January 8, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. davidvoter08

    Hillary Clinton has the intelligence, strategies, experience and passion to change this great country to a great DIRECTION!!! She has the power and will achieve what she said! Not only an excellent orator who promises anything only for cheating voters to support for him. Unfortunately, he never considered whether he can keep his promise or how to realize what’s he said. If a person says he can do anything, we should doubt his honesty, such as Obama! Change is good, but can change to a positive or negative direction! We should reminder 8 years ago, Bush also said changes. Let’s support Hillary, because we love this country! We will not allow this country suffer another disastrous presidential term! I find the similarity between Barack Obama and George W. Bush!

    January 8, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. mark

    Carol,call it what you will David is correct the south will NOT elect Obama or Clinton, there several other states where that holds true. The point here is not bigotry but electability. I have friends and family in the upper Midwest, deep south and far west who are all over the socioeconomic and demographic scale. Both Democratic front runners do not appeal to any of us, that is just the hard cold truth.

    January 8, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. mo

    The Clinton's have such a sordid legacy before Bill even entered the White House that whatever good Hillary may have done since comes under a very dark cloud indeed.
    Reference The Clinton Chronicles. They've recently removed the full length version but the installments are, for now anyhow, still available.

    I would hope that we could for once rise above political partisanship and look at the track record of the candidate and not their political affiliation

    Kucinich and Paul are the only two candidates neither beholden to the invisible ringmasters nor with skeletons in their closets.

    January 8, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. Hail to the Chief

    President Hillary Rodham Clinton

    January 8, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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