Why the Early Votes in New Hampshire Actually Matter This Year


Hillary Clinton has won the first precinct in the nation to report results: the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, whose eight voters cast their ballots shortly after midnight. Clinton garnered four votes to Donald Trump’s two; Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received a single vote, and one voter wrote in the 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Dixville Notch correctly predicted the last three of four presidential elections. (In 2012, the year it didn’t, voters split evenly between Obama and Romney.)

Two other tiny New Hampshire towns also voted at midnight: Millsfield, where Trump won 16 votes to Clinton’s four, and Hart’s Location, where Clinton won 17-to-14.

This year, the voters in these three towns will have an outsize impact in the Electoral College result: More than voters in any other state, New Hampshirites wield extraordinary power, both because there are so few of them, relative to the number of electoral votes their state is worth, and because the race there is so tight. New Hampshire tops FiveThirtyEight’s voter power index, defined as “the relative likelihood that an individual voter in a state will determine the Electoral College winner.” It’s followed by Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan and North Carolina.

New Hampshire voters also will be critical in deciding the balance of power in Congress for the next several years: One of the most hotly contested Senate races – Kelly Ayotte vs. Maggie Hassan – is on the ballot there. The winner of that contest could determine whether Democrats retake the Senate, which could determine whether the vacancy on the Supreme Court gets filled. (Several moderate Republicans have threatened to block all nominations if Hillary Clinton wins – and if the GOP retains control of the Senate, they technically could.) The voters of Dixville Notch split evenly on Ayotte and Hassan, with each receiving four votes.

Both Clinton and Trump have held rallies in the state in recent days as polls have tightened. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Clinton leading by little over a half of a percentage point on Election Day, after trailing Trump by a point and a half the last several days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *