New Hampshire exit polls: Defeating Trump tops issues for Democratic voters

David K. Li

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, New Hampshire voters who cast ballots in Tuesday's Democratic primary said they would rather see a nominee who can beat President Donald Trump in November than one who agrees with them on the issues, according to early data from an NBC News exit poll.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they would rather see a nominee who can beat Trump, while 34 percent said that they would prefer one who agrees with them on major issues.

An unusually large number of New Hampshire primary voters say they waited until the final days of the campaign to settle on a candidate.

The early data showed that 48 percent of Democratic respondents said they made up their minds in the last few days, higher that in 2016 (25 percent) and 2008 (38 percent).

Friday night’s Democratic debate also seemed to play a critical role for many of these Democratic voters, as 16 percent said it was the single most important factor in their decision, early poll numbers showed. Another 32 percent said it was one of several important factors.

New Hampshire voters in both parties agree that Trump has emerged from impeachment largely unscathed, the early exit poll data showed.

Less than a quarter of those voting in the Democratic primary said Trump’s impeachment has hurt his re-election chances.

Fifty-nine percent of Democratic voters said impeachment made no difference to Trump’s re-election effort, early exit polls showed, while 15 percent said the proceedings even helped him.

Two-thirds of GOP voters said that impeachment has helped Trump while just 5 percent said it has hurt his chances.

New Hampshire voters in Tuesday's Democratic primary were more likely to be female and more educated than their GOP counterparts.

Of Democratic voters, 55 percent had at least a bachelor's degree while 33 percent of GOP voters had their four-year college degree, early data showed.

Fifty-five percent of Democratic voters were women, while just 44 percent of GOP primary voters were female, according to pollsters.

Compared to Democrats, Republican voters were twice as likely — 22 percent to 10 percent — to be military veterans.

All of these differences mirror the demographics of Democratic and Republican supporters across the nation.

Republicans strongly back Trump

Republicans who voted in the GOP primary on Tuesday solidly backed Trump, who faced only nominal competition on the GOP side.

Nearly 9 in 10 of those GOP voters said they believe Trump has kept his campaign promises, and nearly 9 in 10 also said they were either “enthusiastic” or “satisfied” with the current administration.

About 8 in 10 said they support building a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexican border, Trump’s signature campaign issue of 2016, and 95 percent voters in the Republican primary said they feel the economy is in either “excellent” or “good" shape.

And when asked if they felt more loyalty to the president or the GOP — 54 percent of Republican primary voters said Trump while 39 percent said the party, according to the early data.

Emotions were running high among voters in both parties, the early poll data showed.

Among Democrats, 81 percent said they were "angry" with the Trump administration, 14 percent "dissatisfied," 3 percent "satisfied" and 2 percent "enthusiastic." It was nearly flipped among Republican primary voters, with 61 percent saying they were "enthusiastic" about the president, 26 percent "satisfied," 6 percent "dissatisfied" and 6 percent "angry."

This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.

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