Overheard on CNN.com: Candidates woo 'Live free or die' state
Political signs dot a roadside in Manchester, New Hampshire. Residents vote in the state's GOP primary on January 10.
January 9th, 2012
04:35 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Candidates woo 'Live free or die' state

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

" 'Survivor: New Hampshire' winds up this week. But not too long until 'Survivor: South Carolina.' No substance to these misnamed 'reality shows,' is there?

With the New Hampshire primary coming Tuesday, much will be said about campaign strategies and polls. But what about the people who are doing the voting? What exactly does this primary mean? We took a look at many CNN.com comments from the last week mentioning "New Hampshire" to figure out what our readers are saying about the Granite State.

What are you observing? If you live in New Hampshire, share your story on CNN iReport and be sure to comment below.

Trying to predict the future

In the story about New Hampshire's independent streak, some readers said they felt the state was not representative of the overall populace. Some readers said they thought the New Hampshire primary would have some of the same issues as an Iowa primary in that it's a relatively small state.

SouthernBlue: "Just ask President Hilary Clinton how predictive the outcome of NH primary is. Same for nominee Howard Dean! New Hampshire is, and continues to be, like Iowa. A small state lacking diversity of any measure, that is not representative of America and yet holds tremendous sway over which candidate gets a windfall of free press." -New Hampshire - all about the independents

There were other readers, responding a story about New Hampshire as a test for Romney, who said they felt New Hampshire's result should not be viewed as definitive. If Mitt Romney has any advantage, opined this commenter, it's because of geography.

bhoins2: "Oh please. Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts. The only key is if Romney doesn't win by a serious landslide. Otherwise New Hampshire isn't a real test. He is the one with all the name recognition. If it is a near thing he should withdraw from the race." [...] "New Hampshire didn't manage to pick anything last cycle. They just vote early enough to give the front-runner some extra cash." -New Hampshire is key test for Romney

But in New Hampshire, one reader suggested, a victory is a victory.

HarvardLaw92: "New Hampshire is a winner take all state, so the only relevant factor there is Romney. Only delegates matter in primaries, nothing else."
-Gingrich, Santorum spar in N.H. over congressional records

Beyond the caucuses

We're just coming off the Iowa caucuses, so comparisons are being made. In another story about Romney and Gingrich's battles over each other's congressional record, the  following reader said there are problems with Iowa's system.

fischmild: "The New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot has the names of 13 candidates and a write-in space for another name in addition to the most well-known candidate. Although, on the national level, perfectly viable candidates were arm-twisted into not registering for the NH vote. That is something more like democracy. The vote in Iowa was a mysterious conspiracy orchestrated by a dictatorship, reminiscent of 'voting' for Saddam Hussein or Moammar Gadhafi. Iowa's existence as a state should be rescinded and its delegates refused admission to the convention until it provides the full details of its supposed election to international observers. As Thomas Jefferson once said, Democracy should be frequently renewed with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-Gingrich, Santorum spar in N.H. over congressional records

This commenter said New Hampshire is a better place to begin than Iowa.

FlopFlipper: "New Hampshire should go first. It would be better for the GOP to get the opinion of independents and centrists from New Hampshire right up front, than the far right Christian geriatrics we know as the Iowa caucus."
-New Hampshire is key test for Romney

Eyes on Romney, but ...

Many presume the candidate to be the front-runner going into New Hampshire, especially given proximity to Massachusetts. This reader wasn't so sure, saying they didn't think Romney would be able to get enough delegates given the complex selection of people.

thewiser: To start with, less than 15% of all GOP delegates will be selected between now and Super Tuesday, and all in states where delegates will be allocated proportionately. So even if he wins every primary/caucus, Romney is not going to be able to amass a signficant delegate lead. In fact, I’d wager that on the morning of Super Tuesday, Romney will have less than 40% of the delegates awarded to that point. Secondly, the only reason that Romney is going to be able to win primaries is because the opposition to him is still fractured among multiple candidates. That won’t be the case by the time Super Tuesday rolls around, by which time it will likely be down to a three-man race (Romney, Paul, and either Santorum or Gingrich). Third, to win the nomination outright, Romney does not just have to win primaries/caucuses, he has to win MORE THAN 50%of the delegates. Otherwise, he’ll end up in a brokered convention, in which anything could happen. Given that he didn’t even break 25% in Iowa, may not break 40% in New Hampshire, and is stuck around 30-35% in South Carolina, that may be a pretty tall order. The key numbers to look at are Romney’s vote percentages as compared to those of all the religious  right candidates combined (i.e. Santorum, Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann), since those four voting blocs will coalesce into one single anti-Romney bloc by the time Super Tuesday rolls around and the winner-take-all contests begin. And by that metric it doesn’t look good for Romney. He would have lost Iowa 25%-53%, would still win NH, but would lose South Carolina by double digits. Until he starts breaking 40% somewhere outside of NH, I’m going to remain highly skeptical of his chances at actually winning the nomination."
-Romney, the pretend tea partier 

Lots of readers are keeping their eyes on Ron Paul, as well as other candidates.

FlopFlipper: "(Rick) Perry is starting to look ragged.  He'll probably quit after he gets owned in New Hampshire.  Ron Paul won't give up, though.  For one, he doesn't care about primary results.  Second, he'll probably get second or third in New Hampshire."
-GOP contenders square off again  Sunday

As for campaign signs, this reader said their placement wasn't equal.

Guest: Took a ride through Bedford, New Hampshire, the other day and saw plenty of signs ... all for Huntsman and Santorum.  Not one for Romney!
-Rivals turn up heat on Romney as New Hampshire primary closes in

New Hampshire vs. Massachusetts

A New Hampshire newspaper endorsed Newt Gingrich, which sparked discussion and stoked the opinions of a Massachusetts reader.

chaski: "As a Massachusetts resident I find the Union Leader's endorsement quite funny ... and completely at odds with reality. The New Hampshire economy is basically a leech off the much larger Massachusetts economy. Most of southern New Hampshire travels south every morning and then comes back home every evening. Yes, many of them have moved from Massachusetts in order to escape regulation, taxes, etc., but much of their advantages have been illusory. The long and short of this is that New Hampshire is awfully (lucky) to have the more moderate society and culture on their southern border. Without Massachusetts, New Hampshire would be in mighty tough shape."
-Gingrich, Santorum spar in N.H. over congressional records

This New Hampshire commenter talked about the culture of the state, and mentioned an influence from their neighbor. This got a response from another commenter who found that interesting.

GeeEmCee: "Few really know New Hampshire and 'what it's about' and few ever learn. ... I grew up well-educated in New Hampshire. We enjoyed the culture of Boston from the symphony orchestra to Shubert Theater. Try really hard to think above that which is in front of your face on the video and consider with an open mind that there might be more than this person conveys."

curtiscan: "Um ... but then there's that Orthodox Lutheran thing going on in western New Hampshire, and the generally poor state of public schools ... don't you find it odd to defend NH by talking about Boston? LOL"
-New Hampshire - all about the independents

'Live free or die' state

Discussion about Rick Santorum's chances in New Hampshire inspired a spirited discussion about Christians in the state, and about freedom.

LayneP: "Santorum has a good chance in South Carolina where he has a strong evangelical base but New Hampshire would be a longshot for him. Polls done after Iowa have shown that he is mostly pulling from past Gingrich supporters and there weren't a lot of those to begin with."

fistface: "Santorum has zero chance in New Hampshire. We are true conservatives who do not tout our conservatism by way of waving around a Bible or telling a woman what to do with her belly. We try to live and let live. The crap that spews out of Santorum's mouth in regards to his will to enforce his social values upon us doesn't fly here. We don't even want him or anyone like him as a visitor or resident here. ..."

dancingann: "New Hampshire is my home state and I remember it as being fiscally conservative, but you were free to do as you saw fit as long as you were not interfering with someone else's freedom. And that's how I have always interpreted 'Live Free or Die.' "

gregkells: I'm sure you speak for some in New Hampshire, but don't be so sure you represent the core of your state. Like it or not the Christian conservative movement is still alive and well, and they still have disproportionate sway on the GOP. Goldwater warned us, we didn't listen." (Read full comment)
-Why Santorum has a chance in New Hampshire

Forget about it

One reader suggested ending the whole process in New Hampshire.

Richb5200: "I say we let the results of the New Hampshire primary determine who is elected president. Candidates would save a lot of time and money, while the rest of us in the other states wouldn't have to endure mindless political advertisements and speculation. Pure genius! In fact, if we give New Hampshire this heavy responsibility, I believe that everyone who votes in the New Hampshire primary should get a $1,000 tax rebate in compensation for their service to the country." -New Hampshire is key test for Romney

What's life like in New Hampshire? How is the primary affecting you, and what do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. fernace

    Why are we still using this antiquated system? Why are candidates allowed to raise millions of dollars in order to run for office! I just don't believe this is what our forefathers had in mind, when the electorial college was put in place! There is just too much emphasis on a few states & having the largest election purse! How can this possibly be considered a fair playing field!? It simply is not & my vote is for revision! After, of course, our economy is back in shape & we can concentrate on other things besides where to find a job! That's the real issue for too many of us!!

    January 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    There is much to the election process that is undesirable. I lived in New Hampshire for a few years when my daughter was young, and you could register to vote *at* the polling station before you cast your vote. Here in Oklahoma, you have to register at least a month before the election to be able to vote in the election, via a form you have to pick up at the library. Every state has its own election laws. For federal elections.. I know, right?

    The Federal Election Board, which probably doesn't exist, is one of the few departments this form of government would seem to really need. Even to a Libertarian..lol.. It's this thing about State's rights.. We have to prove in some of the most irritating ways, that we're not all one unit, we are States. Why? What would make more sense to me is that States shouldn't be allowed to interfere in Federal elections at all. Take it away from the States, build a big table for half a dozen folks with computers, problem solved.

    We're moving into the age of technology, we should start acting like it..

    January 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |


    January 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |


    January 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |


    January 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |