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New Hampshire Turnout Breaks Records, But Not On Democratic Side

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., celebrates after his resounding New Hampshire primary victory Tuesday night.
J. David Ake
Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., celebrates after his resounding New Hampshire primary victory Tuesday night.

One-hundred percent of votes are now in in New Hampshire and a couple of things are now official:

1. Record for total turnout: Combining all voters — Democrats and Republicans — it was a record for a New Hampshire primary. In all, 538,094 people cast ballots. That beats the 2008 record of 527,349.

2. The Republican record was shattered: The final tally for GOP ballots cast was 284,120 votes. That beats out the 2012 Republican primary tally of 248,475.

3. Not the highest ever: That was, however, about 3,000 or so votes shy of the overall highest turnout on either side — the 2008 Democratic primary (287,556).

4. Democratic turnout was big, but not a record: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the Democratic turnout was "huuuuuge" (or is it yoooooooge?). Well, it was big. But not a record. The Democrats' official tally came to 250,974. That's more than 30,000 short of 2008. It is, though, the second-highest turnout for Democrats. (For reference, the third-highest was in 2004 when 219,787 Democrats cast ballots.)

5. Clinton's delegate advantage highlighted: Despite Sanders' 22-point win over Hillary Clinton in the raw vote, they are tied in delegates. Sanders won a big 15-9 split of the 24 delegates at stake on election night, but because six of the eight "superdelegates" have publicly declared for Clinton, that gives Clinton and Sanders a 15-15 split.

The two other supers are uncommitted and will likely tip the balance at some point (unless they split, of course). Either way, it highlights Clinton's big advantage. She has an enormous lead with superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials — throughout the country, far greater than she did in 2007 over Barack Obama.

See NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben's storyfor context and background on this. It's this week's coin toss story. What quirks will Nevada and South Carolina bring us?

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Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

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