New Hampshire has four electoral votes – a huge number in a close race like this. President Obama won the state by 9.6 percent in 2008, but now most polls show the race as a tossup; the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has Obama up by 2% while Rasmussen has former Governor Romney up by 2%.
Both candidates will pour a combined $7 million into the state in the final week. New Hampshire is synonymous with retail politics, though. President Obama (along with former President Bill Clinton) visited Concord over the weekend, attacking Romney and harkening back to the Clinton-era economy. Romney, meanwhile, visited the Seacoast on Saturday, talking about the economy and his record of bipartisanship and will be in Manchester on Monday.
The presidential candidates could also provide more visibility for an equally close gubernatorial race between two business attorneys: Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne. Real Clear Politics poll average shows Hassan with a 2.4% lead.
The state also has a new Voter ID law, under which registered voters must show identification (a variety of forms are acceptable) in order to obtain a ballot. This election, though, those who don’t bring an ID with them can still vote via affidavit. A section that would have subjected new voters to all the state’s laws was put on hold after a court challenge.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of New Hampshire live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATE: 4:55 PM on Monday Get ready, get set...here's a roundup of some recent (and relevant) stories about the election:
Union Leader: "John DiStaso's Granite Status: Big Turnout, close races; Obama, Romney returning to NH" http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121102/NEWS0602/121109959
Concord Monitor: "Residents Can Vote -- and Register -- on Tuesday Even Without a Picture ID" http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/2618085-95/voter-vote-voting-state
WMUR's Political Scoop: "The Inside Chatter: Will Ovide be a Drag on the GOP Ticket?" http://www.wmur.com/political-scoop/The-insider-chatter-will-Ovide-be-a-drag-on-the-GOP-ticket/-/16254890/17215766/-/yl679s/-/index.html
Time Magazine: Ballot Initiative of the Day: Will New Hampshire Perma-Ban Income Taxes?" http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/01/ballot-initiative-of-the-day-will-new-hampshire-ban-its-non-existent-income-tax/
Portsmouth Herald: "Election Season Takes Toll on Voters" http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20121105-NEWS-211050333
UPDATE: 10:01 AM GO! First voting of Election Day! At midnight, the polls opened in Dixville Notch. Obama and Romney both received 5 votes. (Obama won the Independents 3-2). Also, in Hart's Location, Obama 23, Romney 9, and Libertarian Gary Johnson 1.
UPDATE: 2:30 PM The last polls in NH don't close for another 5 1/2 hours, but the story so far seems to be the high level of turnout. There were long lines during early morning voting in cities and towns across the state -- Concord, Merrimack, Raymond, and Windham, to name a few. Durham is apparently ordering more voter registration forms. Check out a photo of one of the lines in Manchester.
UPDATE: 4:45 PM via WMUR, the Attorney General's office says there haven't been issues with the new Voter ID law.
UPDATE: 7:30 Lots of polls already closed, but some in places like Nashua and Portsmouth staying open until closing time at 8. According to NH watchers, women's vote could be crucial to deciding the gubernatorial race.
UPDATE: 8:04 PM Polls are now closed in NH. Let's get ready for the returns!
UPDATE: 9:00 PM Early returns with 8% of the precients reporting show Obama leading Romney, 34,927 to 21,256.
UPDATE: 9:05 PM Latest election results: The AP is calling the gubernatorial race for Democrat Maggie Hassan.
UPDATE: 9:54 PMLatest election results: NBC News calls NH for President Obama.
The two big races in New Hampshire have been called. President Obama is projected to win New Hampshire's four electoral votes. Democrat Maggie Hassan is projected to win the gubernatorial race, keeping the Governor's seat in Democratic hands. Final numbers to come.
Unsurprisingly, according to exit polls, the economy was the biggest concern for voters, with 6 out of 10 calling it the top problem. NH voters also wanted a candidate that shared their values and provided a vision of the future.
Hassan appeared to do well among women (both single and married). She also did well among independents.
Turnout was up throughout the state with some suggesting that it may have eclipsed 70 percent. Also, the Voter ID law didn't seem to cause many problems.
Only 1 in 10 in New Hampshire made up their minds about who to vote for in the last few days. 8 in 10 had already decided who they were going to vote for before October.
UPDATE: 2:50PM Here’s the Final Wrap-up.
New Hampshire Makes History.
Election Day in the Granite State worked out well for Democrats. According to the latest NBC News results, President Obama beat Mitt Romney 52 to 46 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson was not a real factor in this race.
But the big story was that Election Day turned into Ladies Night. Not only did Democrat Maggie Hassan beat Republican Ovide LaMontagne by a wider than expected margin (55 to 43 percent) in the gubernatorial race, but Democrats Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster knocked off incumbent Republican Representatives Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass to take NH’s two Congressional seats as well. Shea-Porter won 50 to 46 percent and Kuster won 50 to 45 percent.
With that, New Hampshire becomes the first state in history to have an all-female congressional delegation. As WMUR’s James Pindell summed up in a tweet that quipped Romney’s statement from the first debate: “I guess you can say NH has a binder full of women…leaders.”
Also, the State’s constitutional amendments, including one to ban an income and sales tax in the state, look set to fail, mainly because they don’t seem to have two-thirds of the vote of everyone who shows up at the polls.
In the end, President Obama won a wider victory than some expected and New Hampshire’s four electoral votes wound up being just another four in the Democratic column. But New Hampshire’s status as a battleground may reap benefits for the state, namely in garnering a lot of publicity from its image as having a sophisticated electorate.