See 2012 Battleground States for brief analyses of a dozen key states in the 2012 elections, and predictions as to who could win those states.
How New Hampshire Votes: Red State or Blue State?
In four of the last five presidential elections, New Hampshire voters cast their ballots for the Democratic presidential candidate: Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Kerry in 2004, Obama in 2008.
New Hampshire's population has one of the nation's lowest percentage of minority residents... just 1% of state residents are African-American, and only 2.8% are of Hispanic heritage. Minority groups, and not white voters, have been President Obama's strongest supporters at the ballot box nationally.
In 2008, Obama was the victor in New Hampshire mainly because he captured 61% of ballots cast by women (52% of the voters). Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain, campaigned with firm pro-life stances that were quite unpopular among New Hampshire women.
In the last four presidential elections, New Hampshire voted as follows:
- 2008 - 54% for Democrat Obama, 45% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 50% for Democrat Kerry, 49% for Republican Bush
- 2000 - 48% for Republican Bush, 47% for Democrat Gore
- 1996 - 49% for Democrat Clinton, 39% for Republican Dole, 12% for Other
Summary of Top Issues in New Hampshire
New England Republicans tend toward being economic conservatives with libertarian leanings. Social conservatives, including conservative evangelical Christians, are a distinct minority in New Hampshire and throughout the New England states.
Thus, the economy is an important issue in the Granite States, despite very low unemployment and poverty rates. Specifically, reducing the federal budget deficit, and shrinking and streamlining federal government are pressing concerns in New Hampshire.
Since 13.5% of New Hampshire residents are senior citizens, Republican threats to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits are campaign topics of discussion in 2012.
New Hampshire Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - At 4.9%, New Hampshire enjoys one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates, which ranks 47th among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - 1 in 962 homes, which ranks 25th among all states, and is below the state foreclosure rate average of 1 of 583 homes.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - At 7.6%, New Hampshire boasts the nation's lowest state poverty rate.
Labor Union Membership - About 79,000 workers in New Hampshire, representing 12.4% of workers in the state, belong to labor unions, one of the higher state percentages of labor union membership.
Senior Citizen Population - 13.5% of New Hampshire residents are over 65 years old, ranking 28th among all states.
Women as a Percentage of New Hampshire's Population - 50.7% of New Hampshire residents are women, ranking 27th among all states.
African-American Population - Merely 1% of New Hampshire's population is of African-American heritage.
Hispanic Population - Only 2.8% of New Hampshire residents are of Hispanic heritage.