January 8th, 2008
11:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Women, diehard Dems keys for Clinton comeback

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.

Filed under: New Hampshire
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. bets

    come on 2 percent ahead of Obama.

    Hillary shed crocodile tears, bc, she knew she was a wash out... what an actress..

    Hillary, don't you know, REAL women, don't cry...

    January 9, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Matt

    I believe in experience in every field of life. Since when experience doesn't count?
    What matters is experience with the positive attitude. If we are setting experience is nothing I think we need to advise all those HR people working hard to get the right person fro the job! Obama onestly experience really matters!!

    January 9, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Ann

    I do not agree that women are a force behind Hillary. I have discussed this with many, many people and get the same answer: Women dislike Hillary and will not vote for her. How can so many opposites exist?

    January 9, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Ingvar Strom

    Had this happened in a former Soviet republic such as Ukraine or Georgia the Western world would have cried foul doubting the election process. I have to assume it has to do with big-time media manipulation making Clinton’s lead a few weeks back of 15 percent in the polls turned in to narrow victory looking like a comeback. Meantime Obama is perceived like a loser while getting 36 % of the vote (only losing by 3 % to Clinton) in a mainly white state with lots of hardcore liberal Democrats. But it goes beyond perception. The media fraud in failing to report how things actually
    stood could have persuaded many Obama supporters not to bother voting and independents choosing to cast a vote for McCaine.

    Another thought. It is strange that the USA media is criticizing Putin for trying to find loopholes to extend his rule beyond the intention of the constitution while not raising the same issue when it comes to the Clintons.

    But to me the most disappointing is that Clinton won despite her arrogant gesture to run thereby (should she eventually win the general election) denying a future truly deserving woman to become the first female President on her own merits. I still hope the American people sooner rather than later will put an end to this form of Banana Republic politics.

    Normally I would not care so much for a Democratic primary but after years of harmful Republican (Bush) borrow and spend policies I’m afraid the country is right to be ready for good old tax and spend Democrats.

    January 10, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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