Ground Game | Election day

An overview of the New Hampshire primary

Voting booths were set up at the polling station at Merrimack High School in Merrimack, N.H., Tuesday.
Voting booths were set up at the polling station at Merrimack High School in Merrimack, N.H., Tuesday.

As the world’s eyes turn to a small New England state Tuesday for the first presidential primary in the nation, experts are looking to a small city that has shown an uncanny ability to predict the results.

Since 2000, Laconia, located in the Lakes Region, has proven to be a near-perfect reflection of the statewide vote in the presidential primaries for both parties.

Not only did Laconia pick the winners in recent New Hampshire primaries, but its results mimic the second and third place finishers for both parties statewide, according to an analysis from pollster David Paleologos. Even more telling: Laconia’s results came within five percentage points of the statewide results in every competitive primary since 2000.


It is a bellwether that rings true.

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“This time around it appears Laconia has the political DNA to crack the code of Democratic and Republican winners statewide,” said Paleologos, the director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center, which partners with the Globe on polling. “This city has managed to pass through all the filters with flying colors and either it will be wrong and disqualify itself from future bellwether consideration or it will inform us accurately of the statewide preferences early on Tuesday night.”

Read more.

Editor’s Note: Look for live results and coverage of the New Hampshire primary tonight at BostonGlobe.com.

And while you wait for the polls to close, download a free copy of our e-book, “Primary Memories: Personal Tales Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the New Hampshire Primary.” Read first-person recollections on the primary from US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, former US representative Charlie Bass, former N.H. House speaker Donna Sytek, Terry Shumaker, Mike Pride, Walter V. Robinson, John King, Carl P. Leubsdorf, Felice Belman, and many more.

New Hampshire

Here today: Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson

Sanders, Kasich win first N.H. votes in Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location, from Globe staff and wire reports: “Bernie Sanders and John Kasich picked up the most votes as the first ballots of the first-in-the-nation primary were cast early Tuesday. Sanders won over all four Democratic voters in the tiny town of Dixville, while Kasich sneaked past Donald Trump, 3-2, among Republicans.


Under New Hampshire state law, communities with fewer than 100 voters can get permission to open their polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots. While that happened in three locations, Dixville traditionally gets most of the spotlight due to its media-friendly setup at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.

Located about 20 miles from the Canadian border, Dixville exists as a town only for voting purposes. Almost all of its nine voters are employees of the hotel, which closed in 2011 but is currently undergoing a major overhaul under new owners.”

Record-breaking turnout predicted for New Hampshire primary, from Andrew Ryan in The Boston Globe: “New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner projected that 282,000 ballots would be cast in the Republican primary and 268,000 in the Democratic primary. The combined turnout of 550,000 voters would represent participation by nearly two of every three Granite State voters.

‘I expect that the turnout of this presidential primary will break a record of the number of votes cast,’ Gardner recently told reporters in his office, according to NBC News. ‘I thought that in 2008 we might not see anything like that for a while because that was such an incredible turnout, but I think that this one will actually exceed that.’

The 2008 race saw Hillary Clinton come from behind and upset President Obama after his victory in Iowa. Republicans turned out for Senator John McCain, who used the victory as a springboard to the party’s nomination.


Four years ago, Obama ran essentially unopposed for reelection in the Democratic primary. For Republicans, more than 248,000 cast ballots in the New Hampshire primary, a record high that gave Mitt Romney a commanding victory.”

Clinton gets real, Sanders stays on message, from Annie Linskey and Akilah Johnson in The Boston Globe: “When voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, they face a choice between an outsider who has long been dismissed as a gadfly and a woman who has navigated the corridors of global power. And at the moment, the momentum in the Granite State favors the outsider.

‘I think we’re going to do just fine tomorrow,’ [Bernie] Sanders said at an afternoon rally in Manchester where he exhibited confidence befitting his place at the top of the polls.

[Hillary] Clinton sounded a little more hesitant at her event, thanking supporters and then addressing undecided voters. ‘To all of those who are still shopping, I hope I can close the deal,’ she said to a standing-room-only crowd at Manchester Community College.”

GOP rivals make final appeals in New Hampshire, from Matt Viser in The Boston Globe: “The free-for-all that has been this GOP primary featured a fresh tag-team battle, this time between [Donald] Trump and [Jeb] Bush, who exchanged words throughout the day as their campaign buses rumbled through the flurries. Trump lashed out repeatedly at Bush, calling him ‘pathetic,’ ‘less than an average guy,’ ‘a total stiff,’ and a ‘spoiled child.’

‘We have to get rid of the Bushes of the world,’ Trump said at an Elks Lodge in Salem.

On Monday night, during a closing rally in Manchester, Trump criticized [Ted] Cruz as not being sufficiently strong on his support for waterboarding. When a woman in the audience chimed in with a crude word for the female anatomy, Trump repeated the word into the microphone, laughed, and jokingly said he was going to give the woman “a reprimand.”

As if on cue, snow arrives in time for the primary, from Eric Moskowitz in The Boston Globe: “And on the second-to-last day of the New Hampshire primary, it snowed.

And the photographers and news directors said it was good, because then they could capture time-honored images — fresh, and shopworn, all at once — of a snowy New Hampshire, just in time for Election Day.

The total snowfall was expected to range from 3 to 8 inches across the Granite State by the time the storm ended late Monday or early Tuesday, making it a garden-variety winter event that was unlikely to deter many voters but still provided enough snow for aesthetic purposes — especially coming after a similar snowfall this past Friday, albeit with a warm weekend in between.

That wintry backdrop lent an easy-to-communicate ‘we’re in New Hampshire’ quality to news broadcasts and photographs, in the state where Estes Kefauver in 1952 — the first national candidate to practice a truly peripatetic brand of retail politics in New Hampshire, crisscrossing the state to upset incumbent President Harry Truman in the Democratic primary — once campaigned at a sled race on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee, his head warmed against the bitter cold by his signature Tennessee coonskin cap.”

Retching protester tries to exorcise Ted Cruz demons, from the Dallas Morning News: “Ted Cruz had just started delivering his stump speech at a tavern when two young men interrupted, wielding mirrors and a wooden cross.

‘Ted Cruz look in the mirror and let the evil spirit depart!’ said one of the men, shouting, ‘He’s possessed by a demon!’

People began booing. Cruz made a quip about the Bernie Sanders campaign trying to disrupt him. The man and his less theatrical partner kept on, as a policeman shooed them toward an exit at Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery.

‘He’s possessed by a demon! The demon has to leave. That’s why the body is so disgusting to look at!’ the man said. Why the mirror? So “the evil can confront itself. Evil body! Evil spirit. Look yourself in the mirror!’ he shouted.

Reporters followed them to the door, pressing for their names, which they declined to give. As performance artists they stayed in character – the character being that of agitated, nauseated exorcist.”

This man has met every New Hampshire candidate since 1988 (almost), from CNN: “He doesn’t have a single selfie to prove it but Bruce Schoenfeld says he has met -- or shaken hands with -- all of the presidential candidates traveling through New Hampshire since 1988. Well, almost all; Schoenfeld is three handshakes short this year.

‘Traditionally how do you meet someone? You shake their hand,’ said Schoenfeld, a Boulder, Colorado resident, who says you can tell a lot about a person from their eye contact. ‘I don’t want to be standing next to them -- I want to be looking them in the eye.’

Schoenfeld and a friend first traveled to New Hampshire in 1988 hoping to meet one or two candidates but immediately started to meet all of them.”

James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell. Click here to subscribe to his daily e-mail update on the 2016 campaign.