Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR's local journalism that brings clarity, context, and community!
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0001Click on a photo to find stories by candidate:0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0002More Content:Our Voters Guide provides an overview of all you need to know about the 2016 N.H. Presidential Primary.Click here to explore a calendar of candidate visits and other Primary campaign events.Click here for our Money in Politics stories and data interactives.Visit our Where They Stand series for an overview of the candidates' positions on key policy questions.Visit our series Primary Backstage to learn about the people and places that make the N.H. Primary tick.To see NHPR photos from the campaign trail, visit our Primary 2016 album on Flickr.

After Sound Defeat in New Hampshire, Clinton Focuses on the Long Game

Kate Brindley for NHPR
Clinton at a roundtable event at the Smuttynose Brewery in May. A poll released by WMUR days before this photo was taken had Clinton at 51%, and Sanders at 13% in New Hampshire

When Hillary Clinton spoke to the crowd at Southern New Hampshire University last night, she quickly addressed the bad news for her campaign.

“I want to begin by congratulating Senator Sanders on his victory tonight and I want to thank each and every one of you. And I want to say, I still love New Hampshire and I always will.”

Clinton may still have fond feelings for New Hampshire, but Granite Staters handed the former Secretary of State a big defeat. Over 20 percentage points separated her and Bernie Sanders, and even places like Manchester and Rochester, which Clinton won easily in 2008, chose Sanders by comfortable – sometimes huge - margins. Voters in these blue collar, working class cities swarmed to Sanders’ side.

But Clinton and her supporters, who gathered in a gymnasium at SNHU, were more interested in looking ahead than dissecting yesterday’s loss in New Hampshire.

“Now we take this campaign to the entire country. We’re going to fight for every vote in every state, we’re going to fight for real solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives.”

For those who came out to support Clinton there was a sense of disappointment but also confidence that she’ll win out in the end. Many like Alex Savard of Concord downplayed the significance of Sander’s victory.

“I think tonight is a bump in the road that everybody saw coming, watching the polls and considering Bernie’s popularity here, from the very beginning.”

Others like Sarah Dustin of Contoocook argued that New Hampshire wasn’t the best stage for Clinton to make her case.

“This is a funny state. I’d like to see what the rest of the country will be doing.”

Credit Keith Spiro for NHPR
Clinton's supporters rally at her campaign's primary night headquarters in Manchester

Clinton is polling ahead of Sanders in the next two nominating contests, South Carolina and Nevada. And Sanders has yet to be tested with minority voters. But as UNH political scientist Dante Scala points out, the results from last night expose a weakness in Clinton’s coalition.

“Even if Clinton wins the nomination, the fact that she did so poorly among blue collar white voters is a warning sign for the general election.”

But before anyone wins a nomination, there’s likely to be a long primary process ahead. And Scala says Clinton is likely to change tack.

“She’s been hesitant to go negative; she’s been hesitant to draw very strong contrasts between herself and Senator Sanders. I think that’s going to change.”

One thing that has already changed for Clinton -- she’s now running from behind.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.