AP News Guide: A big validation for Sanders, Trump
KATHLEEN RONAYNE & CALVIN WOODWARD
Feb. 10, 2016
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — It's getting harder to shake off Donald Trump as just a hot-air balloon and Bernie Sanders as a pie-in-the-sky political revolutionary.
In handing the two men runaway victories in the presidential primary, New Hampshire essentially told America to take those guys seriously.
Their wins Tuesday sent the confounding campaign on to South Carolina after a chastening night for Democrat Hillary Clinton and a muddled one for the legions of anti-Trump Republicans pining for someone to rise from the pack and take him down. No one did.
THE FIGHT FOR SECOND
There's now little doubt Marco Rubio's fumbling debate performance cost him with voters.
The Florida senator was an up-and-comer until that happened —regarded even as being on the cusp of consolidating mainstream support and driving rivals from the race. But Rubio finished in a cluster of contenders who would do no better than third.
John Kasich, the Ohio governor who ran an upbeat campaign, finished second, yet faces doubts about whether he has the ability to run a national campaign, which the 2016 race now becomes.
It was a disappointing night for Rubio's tormentor in the debate, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. He may not hang in for long.
THE UPSTARTS TAKE IT
Sanders, the independent socialist senator, and Trump, the political neophyte and provocateur, tapped New Hampshire's occasional taste for political insurgencies to prevail in the nation's second contest for the nomination, after they lost in Iowa.
A loss for either one Tuesday could have been devastating.
Instead, Trump put beef behind his braggadocio, celebrating his solid victory by vowing anew that "I'm going to be the greatest jobs president" and "beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us."
And Sanders was as fiery as ever, declaring: "We have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs."
Still, Sanders, from Vermont, moves on to tougher territory in South Carolina, where Clinton has the advantage. She remains the favorite for the nomination despite her lack of a standout performance and questions even among some Democrats about whether she is worthy of trust.
HOW SANDERS WON
Sanders attracted a broad coalition of New Hampshire voters, gathering a majority of votes from men, independents and voters under 45, as well as a slim majority of women, according to early exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and TV networks
The polls found that Clinton won the majority of those over 65 and those with incomes over $200,000. The age gap first seen in Iowa, where younger voters backed Sanders and older ones, Clinton, appeared to be replicated.
After conceding to Sanders, Clinton said she has "some work to do, particularly with young people."
The exit polls also suggested Clinton has a struggle being trusted and relating to average people.
Nearly half who voted in the Democratic primary said that between Sanders and Clinton, they thought only Sanders is honest and trustworthy. And just over 10 percent said that between the two, Clinton alone shares their values.
Clinton fell far short in New Hampshire after an unsatisfying hair's-breadth win in Iowa.
HOW TRUMP WON
Trump capitalized on disaffection and outright anger with Washington, which was more pronounced in the Republican race, the exit polls found. He drew both from conservative and moderate Republicans.
His hardline positions on immigration and national security appeared to help him as well.
Although nearly 6 in 10 Republicans said they supported giving immigrants in the U.S. illegally the opportunity to apply for legal status, a large minority didn't — and two-thirds of Republican voters backed Trump's contentious position that non-citizen Muslims should be temporarily barred from entering the country.
THE EXCITEMENT FACTOR
Sanders and Trump had it, Clinton and most Republicans didn't.
Gail Malliaros-Golec, 64, of Pelham, a Trump volunteer for months, said she knew things were going well when she saw the reaction at the poll site where she helped out.
When cars pulled in, she said, people of all ages were "honking horns and thumbs up. People just almost causing accidents. Seriously."
She went on: "It was like a drug, seriously. People were just so excited."
For Sanders, the large, passionate rallies of many months finally paid off.
Cait McKay, 29, of Manchester backed Sanders because he's committed to "building a better society for everyone" and "he's not taking the negative ads or the negative stabs."
"I'm excited about the turnout," she said. "I'm excited about my candidate."
Woodward reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Alex Sanz, Holly Ramer, Philip Marcelo and Jill Colvin in New Hampshire contributed to this report.