The pollsters and pundits are busy analyzing how they could have been so wrong about New Hampshire on Tuesday. They could be at this for a while, actually, as they try to out statistic and analyze each other. Everyone has a theory or an answer, and no one may ever figure out the exacts. It’s politics after all… But I did run across this interesting tidbit on the HuffPo from Thomas Edsall who notes, that in New Hampshire, Kerry Country is now Clinton Country and Dean Country is now Obama Country:
MIT political scientist Charles Stewart found that “Clinton did better, on average, in the towns that had the biggest [positive] change in turnout across the four years. Conversely, Obama did worse.” Stewart’s analysis of NH voting data showed that a “strong predictor of how Obama did, town by town, are the results from ’04. Dean country is now Obama country.”
Stewart also found that, conversely, John Kerry country has become Clinton country: “In the towns where Kerry beat Dean in 2004 [Clinton country now], turnout increased by a total of 31.4% between 2004 and 2008; where Dean beat Kerry, turnout increased by a total of 27.5%. That’s not a huge number, but in a close race, you need everything you can get.”
Fascinating… In ’04 John Kerry was seen as the candidate with experience, and Howard Dean was the upstart. And so the voters in New Hampshire followed the same patterns again on Tuesday when they chose their candidates. I’ll be curious to see if the analysts see this pattern developing across the country as the Democratic race for the nomination plays out.