Projections: Trump, Sanders claim New Hampshire after second-place Iowa finishes

Projections: Trump, Sanders claim New Hampshire after second-place Iowa finishes
Source: Raycom Media

(RNN) - The projections showed that maverick billionaire Donald Trump and self-styled democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, improving upon their second-place finishes in Iowa and revealing a hunger for political outsiders in at least the Granite State.

The first official tallies were taken at midnight:  Sanders had four votes and Republican John Kasich had three to take the wins in the community of Dixville Notch.

The village continued its tradition of being the first in the nation to vote in a primary, beginning shortly after midnight Tuesday. Hillary Clinton received zero percent (there were only four votes cast), while Trump came in a close second on the Republican side with two votes. No one else got any.

There's a lot of forecasting Tuesday in New Hampshire. There's the first primary of the presidential season to predict, but there's also a blizzard engulfing New England, which intrepid voters may have to face on their way to the ballot box.

Voting in the state started with three small towns: Hart's Location, Millsfield and Dixville Notch.

Though these towns are too tiny to make much of a difference, experts said the Dixville Notch vote in particular, since 1968, has served as an indicator of who the eventual Republican nominee will be.

Nine votes were cast in Dixville Notch. Ohio Gov. Kasich prevailed among Republicans, three votes to Trump's two. Sen. Sanders earned the unanimous decision among Democrats - four to Clinton's zero.

In Hart's Location, Kasich won again with five votes, while Sanders won among the Democrats.

Sen. Ted Cruz won among Millsfield Republicans with nine votes. Clinton prevailed among Democrats, two votes to one.

The pre-vote polling tells a familiar story. Establishment candidates are fighting for survival against insurgent outsiders, and the Granite State, known for its swing-state status and moderate politics, is perhaps the perfect battleground for their last stand.

Of the Republican Party's still large but now shrinking slate of candidates, Kasich, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are fighting for relevance and to recover from poor showings in the Iowa caucuses.

According to a CNN-WMUR poll from Feb. 4 to 8, Trump leads his GOP rivals with 31 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, whose surprise third-place finish in Iowa endowed his campaign with newfound energy, is in a distant second at 17 percent.

Cruz, the winner of last week's Iowa caucuses, is in third place at 14 percent.

Kasich and Bush registered at 10 percent and 7 percent respectively. Gov. Christie, however, is still floundering in the poll at 4 percent, but that did not stop him from shellacking Rubio during the Republican debate Feb. 6. Instead, it was probably his primary motivation to criticize Rubio for what Christie calls his inexperience and reliance on premade talking points, particularly his refrain the President Barack Obama "knows exactly what he is doing."

"The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him," Christie said. "See, Marco, the thing is: When you're president of the United States, when you're governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person."

Whether Christie's verbal gnashing will prove to be a Waterloo in Rubio's primary campaign is yet to be seen, but it's clear that he - and his governor brethren - are hoping for a strong finish in New Hampshire.

Bush, heir to a political dynasty and doing poorly in polls nationwide, has also not been a stranger to party in-fighting in the final days before New Hampshire. He and Trump have amped up their nasty rivalry on the eve of the primary.

Kasich's journey has been more docile. The Ohio governor has been focusing on New Hampshire since the beginning of his campaign, staging more than 100 town halls and promising a surprise performance.

On the Democratic Party's side of the fence, former Secretary of State  Clinton is an underdog for the first time this election cycle.

In the CNN-WMUR poll, she trails self-styled democratic socialist Sanders by 26 percentage points. Sanders is an independent senator from New Hampshire's neighboring state, Vermont.

Despite his dominance in the polls, Sanders said he expected the race to be close, attempting to maintain a major theme of his campaign that he is the underdog, not Clinton.

After a near tie in Iowa, however, Sanders seems to be a worthy rival to Clinton, who was eventually declared the winner of the Iowa caucus. The candidates even dropped the usually cordial discourse in the most recent Democratic debate, clashing over the definition of "progressive."

Clinton claimed she was a "progressive that gets things done" in the debate, crafting a narrative that accuses Sanders' ideas of being unlikely realities.

While Sanders has dominated the youth vote, beating Clinton with Democrats 17 to 29 by 70 percentage points in Iowa, his competitor is trying to consolidate female voters.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and prominent feminist Gloria Steinem came to Clinton's aid on the campaign trail, chiding female voters who have chosen to support Sanders.

Even Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, launched a gender-based attack against Sanders supporters, positing that some of the senator's supporters were sexist based off Internet comments.

"(A blogger) and other people who have gone online to defend Hillary and explain - just explain - why they supported her have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat," Clinton said Monday.

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