President Elect Barack Obama
By HOLLY RAMER – 15 hours ago
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The state that gave Barack Obama his first primary setback supported him when it counted Tuesday.
The Illinois Democrat defeated John McCain to claim New Hampshire's four electoral votes. The call was based on an analysis of voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International and early vote returns.
Also, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen ousted Republican Sen. John Sununu in a bitter rematch of their 2002 race. Shaheen is the first Democrat elected to the Senate from New Hampshire in 33 years.
And Democratic Gov. John Lynch won a third term in a landslide, beating GOP state Sen. Joe Kenney.
Though Obama had held a solid lead in polls heading into Election Day, he had cautioned his supporters not to get cocky, given that he lost the primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton back in January under similar circumstances.
But this time, his organizational advantage and the Democratic Party's growing strength in New Hampshire propelled him to victory.
"I think he'll do a great deal to restore our reputation in the world," said Democrat Alasdair Drysdale, 58, a professor from Portsmouth. "He's got the best temperament, the right temperament. I like his energy, his intellect and his fundamental decency."
For McCain, who had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, it was his first loss in a state that twice had launched him toward the GOP nomination. He won an upset victory here last winter in the Republican primary after his campaign had been all but declared dead.
An AP exit poll showed Obama scored high among moderates and independents in New Hampshire, with close to two-thirds in each group pushing him to victory.
The exit poll showed Obama also won voters who had strong worries about the nation's economy and a desire to elect a president who could bring about change and reflect their values. Obama and McCain held ground among their party's political bases.
In the Senate race, Sununu had portrayed the former governor as a "taxing machine"; she depicted him as President Bush's equally evil twin.
Six years ago, when Bush was still popular, Sununu defeated Shaheen by 4 percentage points. This time, Shaheen had the twin advantages of Obama's coattails and a demographic shift that has helped the Democrats. A study by the University of New Hampshire estimated that one-quarter of the electorate has changed since 2002, with young voters and newcomers to the state more likely to identify themselves as Democrats.