Red territory: Checking out the New Hampshire primary

January 12, 2012 by Alexandra Leslie

Driving on Route 93 North this Tuesday morning, I was faced with the open road ahead of me on the way from my small town of North Reading, Massachusetts, to the even smaller town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire. 

With nearly a two-and-a-half-hour drive to complete, I took the time to not only notice the transition from grass to snow, but also the change from Democrat to Republican. If people didn’t know there was an election this year, the abundance of campaign signs on the New Hampshire stretch of Route 93 North would clue you in. Those signs displayed the names Romney, Paul, and Gingrich.

Coming from Massachusetts, I’m used to seeing Obama signs, or no signs at all. Also, going to Ithaca College can put into perspective that I’m used to seeing the liberal side of things. Now, depending on what part of New Hampshire you’re located in, these Republican signs can quickly change to Democrat. New Hampshire is a swing state, after all. 

Over Thanksgiving break I made the hike up to Manchester, New Hampshire, to hear President Barack Obama speak on the American Jobs Act. I was not sure what to expect, but when I went to get a ticket for the event the day prior, one could make a reasonable assumption that the people of Manchester were Obama supporters. The line for tickets stretched around Manchester High School Central, and people waited faithfully in the cold for hours. The next day at his speech, the line was even longer, and the outside was colder, but everyone was pleasant and eager to see the President. 

Primary Day in New Hampshire. Photo by Alexandra Leslie.Primary Day in New Hampshire. Photo by Alexandra Leslie.Around the Bethlehem, New Hampshire area, I’m not quite sure the outcome would have been the same. In Grafton County, where Bethlehem is located, the results have shown people have been in favor of the Democratic candidate for the last two elections. Even so, the campaign signs around town could suggest that this year, the results might be different.

Ithaca College student and Bethlehem, NH, resident Genevieve Severyn says, “I’ve always thought of [Bethlehem] as a Democratic town, but I feel like several people's views might have changed in the past couple of years.” As a non-New Hampshire resident along for a trip to the polls with Severyn, I observed that Bethlehem Town Hall had few people come in to vote in the time that I was there that afternoon. 

One never knows just how the votes will be cast, especially in New Hampshire, but it seems to me as a resident of Massachusetts, that this year, the state could just go red. 

Alexandra Leslie is a reporter for WICB News, a producer for ICTV's Newswatch 16, and a journalism student at Ithaca College.

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