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New Hampshire exit polls show many Nikki Haley voters were not Republicans

By Stew Davidson
January 25, 2024

New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary saw a notable a shift in the composition of participating voters, according to Edison Research.

The study, conducted during Tuesday's voting, revealed a decrease in the proportion of participants identifying as Republicans -- 51% in the current year, down from 55% in the 2016 contest, as Newsmax reported.

Semi-Open Primary Attracts Varied Electorate

The structure of New Hampshire's semi-open primary system, which allows registered voters without a declared party affiliation to participate in either the Republican or Democratic primaries, played a significant role in these dynamics.

This system opens the door for a more varied group of voters to impact the Republican presidential nominating process.

Notably, about two-thirds of these "undeclared" voters supported Nikki Haley, the second-place finisher.

Detailed Voter Analysis

The Edison Research exit poll, which gathered responses from 2,192 participants in the Republican contest, provided a detailed breakdown of the voter demographics:

- 43% identified primarily as independents, mirroring the 42% in 2016.

- A slight increase in Democratic participation was noted, with 6% identifying as Democrats, up from 3% in the 2016 primary.

- 34% of voters classified themselves as moderate or liberal, a rise from 29% in the previous primary.

- The percentage of voters with a college degree decreased slightly to 48% from 53% in 2016.

Voter Opinions and Concerns

The poll also shed light on various opinions held by the voters:

- 54% believed that even if former President Donald Trump were convicted of a crime, he would still be fit for the presidency. In contrast, 42% disagreed.

- A slim majority, 51%, expressed doubt about the legitimacy of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.

- 19% of voters made their decision in the days leading up to the primary.

- The proportion of white evangelical or born-again Christians dropped to 20% from 23% in 2016.

- Economic concerns were prominent, with 75% rating the condition of the U.S. economy as poor or not so good. Conversely, 24% viewed it positively.

- A notable shift in outlook was seen, with 57% expecting the next generation to be worse off, a significant increase from 33% in 2016.

- When it came to deciding factors, 37% prioritized the economy, while immigration was the main concern for 31%.

Abortion policy and foreign policy were cited by 12% and 14% of voters, respectively.