Bernie Sanders 151,584
Hillary Clinton 95,252
2008 NH Democratic Primary Results
Hillary Rodham Clinton 112,404
Barack Obama 104,815
John Edwards 48,699
The idea has taken hold in some circles that Bernie Sanders is not a transformative candidate since despite his 22% win in New Hampshire the total number of Democratic primary voters was down slightly from the 2008 record.
This is an awfully tough case to make. The individual vote totals show what sure looks like an impressive turnout for Bernie. He got nearly 40,000 more voters than the vaunted Clinton operation did in 2008 and the most of any Democratic candidate ever in New Hampshire.
If the slightly lower turnout on the Democratic side did result from a lack of enthusiasm, it was obviously Mrs. Clinton who failed to generate the requisite amount of buzz. Despite having to compete against only one candidate, Clinton still garnered 17,000 fewer votes than she received when she had to share votes with Obama and Edwards. Consider too that Sanders’ vote total approximated the number of votes that the two non-Hillary candidates got in 2008.
But frankly I don’t think you can even conclude the Democrats in toto didn’t excite voters. The Republican race was wide-open. Going in, there were arguably six who still had a legitimate shot at the Republican nomination. In 2008, it was a two-man race between McCain and Romney. With Trump headlining the ticket, it’s not too surprising that the GOP was the bigger draw this year.
If there really is reduced enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates that could spell trouble in November. NH is a must win state for the Democrats. Under these circumstances, Democrats shouldn’t take any chances. The best strategy therefore is to rally behind the candidate who did excite a record number of supporters.