The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Associate Professor Examines New Hampshire Primary Results

NEWARK, Ohio, February 10, 2016 - The Ohio State University at Newark Associate Professor of Political Science Nathaniel Swigger says Donald Trump performed the best he possibly could have in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. Trump won the Republican primary with about 35 percent of the vote. Swigger appeared on Fox 28’s “Good Day Columbus” news program on Wednesday morning to analyze the results.

“The GOP primary is a huge win for fans of chaos,” says Swigger. “Trump recovered from Iowa and won big with a result that actually matched his pre-election polling. If Trump’s supporters actually come out to the polls, he could be a huge factor going forward, especially since the anti-Trump faction of the GOP hasn’t coalesced around a single candidate yet.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich came in second in the primary with nearly 16 percent of the vote. The next closest republican was Ted Cruz with nearly 12 percent of the vote. Swigger says Kasich did what he needed to do in New Hampshire to keep his campaign going. “Kasich went all in on New Hampshire, and if he hadn’t finished substantially in front of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, his campaign wouldn’t have had much reason to continue,” says Swigger. “Kasich captured the moderate New Hampshire voters. Trump won the most, but Kasich nearly matched him among moderate voters and absolutely trounced Rubio, Bush and Christie within that group.”

However, Swigger says now that New Hampshire is in the rearview mirror, Kasich has to continue to turn in solid performances. “With his strong finish, Kasich can pitch himself as the most electable of the mainstream candidates,” says Swigger. “He doesn’t have the money or organization of the others, but he should gain some momentum. If he can survive, not win, but perform respectably in the upcoming primaries throughout the South, there are other more moderate states on the calendar that could actually favor him.”

On the Democratic side, Swigger says the fact that Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by a strong margin is big for his campaign. Sanders had 60 percent of the vote, while Clinton had about 38 percent of the vote. But, Swigger points out that New Hampshire and Iowa are small states and have a small number of delegates. He says those two states are not demographically representative of the rest of the country. “New Hampshire and Iowa are about establishing legitimacy, winning media attention, and building a donor base,” says Swigger. “Exit polls show that 93 percent of New Hampshire democrats identified as white. That simply isn’t going to be the case going forward. If Bernie Sanders can gain a significant portion of moderate and non-white votes, then he can be a factor. If not, this race will be over by March 15.”

The candidates now head to South Carolina and Nevada where voters will head to the polls on February 20.

“The GOP primary is nothing but chaos now,” says Swigger. “This has been a good week for Governor Kasich and objective observers, like me, who like a good show. Break out the popcorn!”

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