The 2020 New Hampshire primary

By Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0650 GMT (1450 HKT) February 12, 2020
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5:53 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

These are the issues New Hampshire voters say matter the most, according to exit polls

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

An early exit poll shows that Democratic voters in New Hampshire see health care as the most important issue in determining their vote:

  • About 4 in 10 cited health care as the most important issue
  • Climate change followed, with about 3 in 10 naming it their top concern
  • About 2 in 10 rated income inequality as top
  • 1 in 10 named foreign policy

Support for a Medicare-for-All style health care plan, where a single government plan provides coverage for all Americans and replaces the current system of private health insurance, has divided the top candidates in the race for much of the campaign. But almost 6 in 10 New Hampshire Democratic primary voters today said they would support such a government plan; 4 in 10 were opposed.

About two-thirds said they would be in favor of making tuition free at public colleges and universities, a plan that has divided the top candidates.

5:56 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Buttigieg has been attacked a lot this week. His aides see it as a good sign.

From CNN's Abby Phillip

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Since Iowa, Pete Buttigieg has been the center of attacks from virtually all the other presidential campaigns — and his aides are very comfortable with being in that position, because they see it as a sign that other campaigns view them as the winners.

“You know when you’re getting attacked from multiple directions that you’re doing something right here,” one senior adviser to the campaign said. 

Aides over the weekend largely shrugged of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’ attacks, showing very little concern about them.

Their strategy has been for Buttigieg to answer questions about it, but not dwell on the attacks. In recent days, Buttigieg has a critiqued Sanders more pointedly on policy, but has largely ignored Joe Biden who has lobbed some of the most pointed attacks against him. 

Overall, the campaign’s view of their criticism is that it has allowed Buttigieg to pivot back to his core outsider message. With the attention of other candidates trained on him, and after Iowa, this has given Buttigieg a big platform at a time when, according to our exit polls, nearly half of the voters in the state were making up their minds. 


5:23 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

A majority of voters didn't make up their minds until this month, exit polls show

Early exit polls indicate the New Hampshire Democratic primary race remained fluid until the very end.

About 6 in 10 who turned out to vote in today’s primary say they made up their minds in the beginning of February — including nearly half who say they decided on their candidate just in the last few days. 

About half overall say the most recent debate – held in New Hampshire on Friday night – was an important factor in deciding their vote for president.

And early exits indicate that only about 1 in 8 are first-time Democratic primary voters, more than 8 in 10 say they’ve done it before.

About the poll: The CNN Exit Poll was conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool. Results are based on interviews conducted throughout the day with 1,947 randomly selected Democratic primary voters at 45 wards in New Hampshire. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Watch more analysis:

5:27 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Exit poll shows 81% of voters are "angry" about the Trump administration

Democratic voters turning out in today’s New Hampshire primary say they are looking for a candidate who can beat President Trump over one who agrees with them on the issues by a roughly 2-to-1 margin, according to an exit poll.

  • Six in 10 said they prioritize a nominee who can beat Trump
  • About a third want someone that agrees with them on the issues

The poll showed that 81% say they're "angry" about the Trump administration.

About the poll: The CNN Exit Poll was conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool. Results are based on interviews conducted throughout the day with 1,947 randomly selected Democratic primary voters at 45 wards in New Hampshire. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Watch more analysis:

4:59 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

These are the voters Klobuchar's team is counting on

From CNN's Kyung Lah

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is counting on independent women and older voters to turn out for her today, a senior campaign aide said.

The campaign bought a wrap-around ad in the Union Leader (the paper endorsed previously endorsed her) to make one last impression on the people who read newspaper: older people. 

The campaign will be watching for turnout of independent women, who they believe are naturally attracted to Klobuchar.

They will watch the Seacoast region. Though the region is liberal, Klobuchar over-performed in liberal precincts in Iowa so the campaign is eyeing undecided voters in Seacoast breaking their way. They are also eyeing the rural northern parts of the state and the Hanover region.

Watch: These Trump voters are considering voting for Klobuchar

4:45 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Warren campaign releases memo on weaknesses of Democratic rivals

From CNN's MJ Lee

Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Elizabeth Warren is looking at a potentially weak finish in her neighbor state of New Hampshire tonight following on a disappointing third place finish in Iowa, and her campaign manager is out with a new memo that hits at what the Warren campaign sees as the fundamental weaknesses of her rivals.

It’s notable that the memo, penned by Roger Lau and just sent out to Warren supporters, draws stark contrasts between Warren and her rivals even as the senator herself remains reticent to directly go after her competitors.

Some of the key critiques that Lau outlines about their top rivals include saying that Bernie Sanders has a “ceiling”; pointing out that Joe Biden’s support among “even” older and black voters is eroding; questioning Pete Buttigieg’s ability to appeal to diverse voters; and saying Amy Klobuchar is untested and doesn’t have a long-term infrastructure in place.

Here are some key lines:

  • “Senator Sanders starts with a ceiling that's significantly lower than the support he had four years ago.”
  • “Former Vice President Biden entered this race as the clear frontrunner, reaching over 40% in national polling last spring. He's now polling under 30% even among older voters and African-American voters, who have been his strongest supporters, and his support among younger voters has fallen to just 6%.”
  • “Former Mayor Buttigieg's most significant challenge is yet to come, as the contest moves into states with more diverse electorates, and he still hasn't answered tough questions about his record in South Bend.”
  • “Senator Klobuchar is getting a well-deserved look from voters for the first time, but hasn't been able to build out infrastructure for the long haul, and is playing catch up on a very short timeline.”

As the campaign has been doing for a while, this is clearly another effort to set expectations for a long haul fight that extends through at least Super Tuesday for the Warren campaign.

“People who are predicting what will happen a week from now are the same people who a year ago predicted that Beto O'Rourke was a frontrunner for the nomination,” Lau wrote. “As we've seen in the last week, debates and unexpected results have an outsize impact on the race, and will likely keep it volatile and unpredictable through Super Tuesday.”
4:31 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Clinton is the only US president in the last 40 years to lose both Iowa and New Hampshire

Bill Clinton is the only candidate in the last 40 years to lose both Iowa and New Hampshire and go on to win the presidency.

Former Vice President Joe Biden didn't win Iowa, and at least one poll from New Hampshire has him in third.

Might he be leaning into the Clinton model? Like Biden, Clinton also had overwhelming support from African American voters.

Biden mentioned Clinton by name on the campaign trail today: 

"Look, you know you talk, everybody talks about the past, I mean, Clinton he lost nine primaries and won only one. This is just the beginning we have an entire nation to vote yet. And so what I'm doing is going to fight for every vote here, and then I'm getting on a plane heading down there doing a rally in South Carolina to get going, and getting on a plane going to Nevada."
5:09 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Buttigieg team eyeing a tight race with Sanders

From CNN's Abby Phillip

Pete Buttigieg's team is feeling confident about their standing in New Hampshire and are hoping to finish — like Iowa — close to Bernie Sanders overall, one senior campaign adviser told CNN. 

Their strategy in New Hampshire has been similar to that in Iowa, in terms of spending time and resources in rural parts of the state that are not huge population centers, but might give Buttigieg a small advantage. Ultimately, the campaign feels they have been experiencing a significant amount of momentum in the last week — especially since Iowa.

More on this: In particular, the campaign believes their outreach and appeal to independent voters might help make the race closer than people expect. Buttigieg’s appeal to center-leaning voters has been the thru line of his campaign trail pitch since Iowa and that has continued here in New Hampshire. But the impact that these independents will have is less certain. In addition to New Hampshire’s unaffiliated voters who will participate in the Democratic primary, the campaign believes they have done a lot of outreach to independent-minded voters and converted Republicans in a way that will make a difference tonight. 


Ex-New Hampshire Republican chair supports this Democrat:

4:23 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Warren is pushing for last minute New Hampshire votes right now 

From CNN's Leyla Santiago

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is making a final pitch right now via tele-town hall, hoping to reach undecided voters.

Today, her campaign emailed supporters emphasizing the importance of reaching undecided voters.

Last night at her event in Portsmouth, CNN talked to seven voters, four were undecided. The final stretch in courting these voters comes after a late night of prime time network interviews in which she pushed her messaging on electability and party unity. 

What to expect later tonight: Warren will attend a watch party, where she will be going over her speech, a campaign aide told CNN.

These Donald Trump voters say they might vote for this Democrat instead of the President: