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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 11:40 GMT
Clinton owes victory to core vote
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News

Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton
The result defied opinion polls, which had forecast Mrs Clinton's defeat
In the glow of Mrs Clinton's surprise victory on Tuesday, some analysts were tempted to point to her emotional appeal for support in the closing days of the campaign.

But Mrs Clinton won by mobilising all the elements of the traditional Democratic coalition, and getting them out to vote.

According to exit polls, it was those who had made up their minds early on in the campaign who were most strongly for Hillary.

Graph showing votes by gender

And it was those who were concerned about the economy who were more likely to back the former First Lady.

Mrs Clinton did run very strongly among women.

They backed her by 46%, compared to 34% who supported Barack Obama, according to a CNN exit poll.

Mr Obama ran more strongly among men, winning 40% of their vote, compared to 29% to Mrs Clinton.

But Mrs Clinton got out her vote, with women making up 57% of Democratic voters, the poll suggested.

Traditional Democrats

The Clinton campaign was running strongly among all groups of traditional Democrats.

Her lead among self-identified Democrats was by 45% to 34%, while Mr Obama was ahead with independents by 41% to 34%.

Graph showing votes by income
Mrs Clinton was also ahead among voters who had a union member in the family, by 40% to 31%.

And she ran strongly among voters in households earning under $50,000 (25,000), by 47% to 32%, and voters without a college degree, by 43% to 35%.

Mr Obama appealed to a very different group: he was ahead among young people, college graduates, educated, well-off professionals, and first-time voters.

But these groups were not big enough to give him victory.

Economic issues

The economy emerged as the key issue for New Hampshire Democrats, with 38% saying it was most important, compared to 31% who said the Iraq war was the key issue, and 27% who cited health care.

And among those whose cited the economy as the key issue, Mrs Clinton led by 44% to 35% to Mr Obama.

Mr Obama had a lead among those who thought Iraq was the most important issue.

Mrs Clinton was also ahead among those who said they had been falling behind economically, and those who thought the national economy was doing poorly.

VOTES BY AGE
Age of voter Clinton % Obama %
18-24 22 60
25-29 37 35
30-39 36 43
40-49 44 33
50-64 39 30
65+ 48 30

New Hampshire has not been seen as particularly hard-hit by the slowdown in US manufacturing in the mid-West, or the sub-prime crisis which has spread to the growing Sun Belt states.

But it is clear that many New Hampshire voters feel economically stressed, with higher energy prices hitting hard.

In New Hampshire's harsh winters, the 50% increase in the cost of heating oil has been widely felt, while higher petrol prices impact on those who commute long-distance to the Boston metro area.

Lessons of victory

Mrs Clinton's campaign appeal should stand her in good stead during the rest of the primary season.

Key issues pie chart
In most state primaries, independents cannot vote, and so the battle will be for traditional Democratic voters.

And her campaign's ability not just to appeal to, but also to get out the vote, of her supporters will be particularly important in the primary season where normally only a small percentage of all voters actually go to the polls.

Her lack of appeal to independents may become more of a problem if she becomes the Democratic candidate in November.

But if the US economy continues to slide towards recession, then Mrs. Clinton's ability to revive the traditional Democratic coalition may help smooth her path to the White House.



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