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Strange Things Going On In New Hampshire

The crosstabs (sorry, subscription only) on the latest (10/23) Rasmussen survey of likely GOP New Hampshire voters show a few interesting things.  Rasmussen has a pretty good reputation for accuracy when it comes to predicting the actual outcomes, so their data are worth considering seriously. 

First of all, the overall numbers: Romney 28%, Giuliani 19%, McCain 16%, Huckabee 10%, Thompson 6%, Paul 3% and Hunter and Tancredo at 2% apiece.  14% remain unsure.  That theoretically makes it a pretty wide-open race.  Almost any candidate could break through and pick up one of the top three slots, but he would need to start making his move now.  The primary is just a little over two months away, and could conceivably could be moved closer. 

Bizarrely, McCain performs best among 18-29 year olds (28%).  In that same age group, Romney follows with 18% (significantly underperforming his overall numbers) and Hunter with a surprising 8%.  Giuliani straggles along with 6% with everyone else tied at 4%.  Why on earth McCain would generate so much excitement among young voters, I truly cannot imagine. 

Romney receives pretty even levels of support in the high twenties from all other age groups, and Giuliani receives his stronger support (25%) from the 40-49 year olds while scoring in the high teens and low twenties with the rest.  McCain’s next-best age group is the 65+ group (20%), scoring in the low and mid-teens with everyone else.  Huckabee does best among 30-39 year olds (12%).  Paul receives roughly the same low level of support from all age groups.   

Sickeningly, Romney and Giuliani have a 83% and 78% favourable ratings among those who identify as conservatives.  In this, they do much better than the others. 

On the war, typically, two-thirds support staying “until the mission is complete” and 32% support some form of withdrawal, either within one year (24%) or immediately (8%).  Perhaps not surprisingly, women voters are more inclined towards withdrawal (37%).  18-29 year olds are most in favour of withdrawal (41%), while the strongest supporters of staying in Iraq are the 50-64 year olds (70%).  In a divided field of hawks, it’s conceivable that Paul could bring in at least two-thirds of the withdrawal vote and place a respectable second.  But it isn’t happening yet.

Part of that is the irrational preferences of many of the withdrawal voters: 31% of Giuliani supporters favour withdrawal now or within a year; 25% of McCain supporters favour the same; 32% of Romney voters support withdrawal; 21% of Huckabee’s take the same view.  For many of these likely voters, their preferred candidate’s position on the war seems to have no relation to their support.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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