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First Results Come In From New Hampshire Primary

Feb 11, 2020
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In New Hampshire, polls are starting to close in the first primary election of 2020. And to get an early look on how the race is shaking out, we're joined by NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro. Welcome back.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey there.

CORNISH: Super early - any results we actually can look at?

MONTANARO: Not yet, not very many. I mean, some of the scarcely populated towns are in, but we're talking in single digits at this point. I'm just excited to be able to see some results after that meltdown in Iowa, so we'll see what happens.

CORNISH: Turnout, though, is a big concern for Democrats, so is there any indication post-Iowa that things are looking any differently in New Hampshire?

MONTANARO: Yeah. Iowa was a pretty flat, pretty lackluster turnout. It looked more like 2016 than 2008. We had candidates who were promising that they were going to be higher. It looks like a lot of undecided voters in Iowa stayed home. What we're seeing from early exit polls, anyway, that have been released by some of the major networks - the TV networks - is that this was a much older electorate than 2016. About a third of the electorate was 65 and older, and just 11% in these early numbers - it could change - 11% were 18 to 29 years old. That's down from 19% in 2016.

You know, that really raises a lot of questions for Senator Bernie Sanders, who, if he wins tonight with his base - and he's expected to win. He's the favorite tonight - came in with about a seven-point lead in the average of the polls. If he wins and, again, isn't able to turn out those voters, there's going to be a lot of questions from people wondering. He's got the inside track for the nomination and yet not quite promising - not quite turning out the kinds of people he was promising.

CORNISH: Is there anything else you're seeing in these early figures?

MONTANARO: I'm really interested to see the results because also, in the exit polls, half of those who went to the polls said that they decided in the last few days, and half of them said that the debate was important in their decision. So if you're looking at candidates and you're thinking about candidates who've been on the upswing, Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota - she's somebody who stood out in that debate. She's been trending upward. She's, in the average of the polls, actually third now in New Hampshire. So we'll see if that winds up playing out the way she hopes it will.

CORNISH: Domenico, thanks. And, of course, we'll be keeping you all updated throughout the evening. NPR's Domenico Montanaro.

MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.