New Hampshire voters speak out about presidential primary — on Biden, Trump and more

(CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE) — New Hampshire voters have been heading to the polls on Tuesday to vote in a presidential primary that could heavily influence the race for the Republican nomination.

It’s largely between former President Donald Trump, who is the favorite in the polls to win both New Hampshire and the overall primary, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the last major candidate remaining against him.

Some still didn’t know who they’re backing in the days before the race.

“I’ve changed my mind about a dozen times so far,” said Mark LaCroix.

Others, however, touted their candidate as the one who can remedy the country’s ailments, with several voters expressing dour perceptions of the economy and the cost of living — a recurring theme going back at least to the 2022 midterms.

“When you speak to the average working-class voter, they have increasing debt, everything has become more expensive for them, and that’s what they’re feeling,” said Bobby O’Donnell.

“I’m voting for Nikki Haley because she’s fresh, she’s young, she’s an accountant, and I like that. She’s gonna balance the budget,” Maureen Ennis told ABC News.

Most voters, though, expressed confidence that Trump would run away with the state.

“I think President Trump is going to win. I think after New Hampshire, I think if he wins this state, Nikki Haley has to win it in order for her to continue,” said Cooper Walsh.

“I’m supporting President Trump because he has a record of getting things done. I think Americans are tired of what Joe Biden’s done to this country. I think they want the border closed. … They want to see the economy booming again. And me, personally, I want a president who’s going to support women in women’s sports,” Maya Harvey said, adding that “absolutely” Trump will be the Republican nominee.

Some voters were motivated to vote because they feared that prediction would end up being true.

“I’m an independent going on the Republican ticket so I can vote for Nikki Haley,” said Karol Carroll. “Because Donald Trump, I do not want him in office.” (Under New Hampshire law, independent voters can cast ballots for either the Democratic and Republican nominees.)

There’s seemingly been less action on the Democratic side. But President Joe Biden’s allies are waging a write-in campaign for him in the state’s unsanctioned primary, which he declined to campaign in because of a larger battle over scheduling between the state and national Democrats.

But many Democrats are still hoping Biden can win handily via the write-in campaign to fend off an embarrassing defeat to either Rep. Dean Phillips or author Marianne Williamson, who are challenging him for the nomination.

“[People have been confused] and resentful. A lot of people are resentful about it. But it’s nothing that Biden could control really … or New Hampshire. These are the rules, and we have to follow them whether we like them or not. New Hampshire has to be first, and the DNC says South Carolina has to be first. So, we’ve got an impasse,” said Donna Vanderbeck, a supporter of the write-in campaign.

Others, though, felt less positively about Biden.

Phillips is looking to run to Biden’s left and lean into the 26-year age difference between the two of them (Phillips is 55 and Biden is 81) while arguing Biden cannot take on Trump in a rematch in November.

And progressives are frustrated over Biden’s handling of Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas after Hamas’ October terror attack, with some pushing voters to write-in “cease-fire” instead of the president’s name.

“He was one of the candidates I, one, saw most, which influences a lot in who you vote for,” Daniel Rosario said of why he voted for Phillips. “But also, a lot of his views I align with, along with the fact that he is younger — which is something that we really haven’t had in a while.”

Rosario clarified later that he hasn’t gone to any of Phillips’s events in New Hampshire, but had seen ads for Phillips and some YouTube videos about candidates.

Why not vote for Williamson? “She just didn’t get my attention as much,” Rosario said, adding that while she has “a lot of views that I agree with… something about her didn’t call me to vote for her.” As for President Joe Biden, Rosario said he feels Biden has been in office or running for too long.

“I don’t know that any of the candidates have actually been strong enough with respect to what’s happening in Gaza,” George Shaker said. “Certainly, President Biden hasn’t been, and I think we need a voice with more of a humanitarian concern; there have already been over 25,000 people killed in Gaza; civilians, children, women, men.”

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