Liveblogging from the ABC/Facebook Debates in New Hampshire
Saturday, January 5th, 2008
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – There are many lessons to be learned from the Iowa Caucuses for tonight’s Candidates at the ABC/Facebook Debates. Iowa Caucus turnout has never risen above 6.8% of eligible voters. In 2000, a race that is more similar to the 2008 race, Iowa caucus turnout was 6.1%. In 2008 the records have been shattered. 16.4% of eligible Iowans showed up to Caucus… that is an additional 222,757 voters! So you might ask: Where did these Iowans come from – because they did not materialize out of thin air?
There are multiple answers. Improved on-the-ground campaigning?… sure. Interactive Internet platforms?… absolutely. But just like Iowa, New Hampshire has an enormous Independent voting block. Professor Dennis Goldford at Drake University said that 38% of Iowa is Independent. 44% of New Hampshire is fiercely Independent and is allowed to – and will – vote in either primary. In 2004 and 2000, 29.9% and 44.4% of New Hampshire-ites voted at the Primaries, and New Hampshire ranked at the top of America’s otherwise dismal voting turnout record. According to New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner, 20% to 30% of primary voters are Independent, and this year that percentage is going to be even higher.
The Independent voting block showed up in great force in Iowa, especially for the Democrats. If one applies the same mathematical increases in turnout from Iowa to New Hampshire, we will be looking at 70% turnout! I am not expecting a miracle. But the Candidates (wink wink Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton) should be aware of youth voters, Independents and Americans that are lining up at the polls to air their voice about “Change.”
The Debates started only moments ago. Stay tuned to see if the Candidates address America’s voice when they discuss Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Immigration, the Economy, and dare I say, Voter Turnout.