Adam McCann, Financial Writer
Feb 6, 2020

It’s primary season, and New Hampshire is first on the electoral docket — as usual. Like the Iowa caucuses that precede it, the New Hampshire primary routinely invites a storm of media attention both for what some criticize as “unfairly” holding the earliest position in the primary-election cycle as well as reliably forecasting the Democratic and GOP nominees — with 60 and 80 percent accuracy, respectively.

The mystery that baffles most about the impressive predictive abilities of the New Hampshire primary is grounded in the fact that the state is largely rural with a relatively tiny and demographically homogeneous population. New Hampshire’s roughly 1.36 million residents are 93.2 percent white, compared with the nation’s 76.5 percent. Those two simplifications summarize why critics so readily dismiss the state as “unrepresentative” of the U.S. and therefore unworthy to serve as the first litmus test for effectiveness of a candidate’s platform.

But when a state is reduced to a couple of general traits, the reason for its importance becomes less discernible. Ahead of the initial primary election on Feb. 9, WalletHub compared the Granite State’s demographic characteristics and stances on various issues with those of the U.S. to demystify once in for all the enigmatic significance of the New Hampshire primary. Scroll down to learn how closely New Hampshire mirrors the U.S. — overall and across individual social categories — how we determined their similarity and what experts have to say about its role in the presidential-nominating race.

Main Findings

Resemblance Index

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100% for a particular metric fully matches the national value.
 

Metric Name

Resemblance Index

Sociodemographic 84.26%
Gender 99.49%
Age 88.00%
Race 41.30%
Household Makeup 99.20%
Family Relationship 88.00%
Health Insurance Coverage 94.20%
Place of Birth 85.00%
Economics 88.91%
% of Population with the Following Household Income Levels 82.00%
Poverty Rate 89.60%
Wealth Gap 75.53%
Food Stamp Entitlement of Households 89.97%
Number of Part-Time Employees for Every 100 Full-Time Employees 99.50%
Unemployment Rate 98.60%
Length of Average Workweek 99.22%
Civilian Employed Population Aged 16 Years & Older by Industry 88.90%
Education 92.09%
Educational Attainment 89.00%
School Enrollment 95.17%
Religion 60.73%
Religious Composition of Adults 58.20%
Belief in God among Adults 60.00%
Importance of Religion in One’s Life among Adults 64.00%
Public Opinions 83.88%
Party Affiliation among adults 96.00%
Political Ideology among Adults 92.00%
Views about Size of Government among Adults 74.00%
Views about Government Aid to the Poor among Adults 90.00%
Views about Abortion among Adults 72.00%
Views about Homosexuality among Adults 80.00%
Views about Same-Sex Marriage among Adults 70.00%
Views about Environmental Regulation among Adults 82.00%
Views about Human Evolution among Adults 72.00%
Should Able-bodied, Mentally Capable Adults who Receive Welfare be Required to Work? 98.00%
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun? 96.63%
OVERALL 81.97%

Percentage of New Hampshire Primary Winners who Received the Party Nomination

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Note: The above chart was generated using data from 1976 for Democratic and Republican party nominees. We took into account only races in which at least two candidates were on the ballot.

Detailed Findings

Metric Name

New Hampshire Value

U.S. Value

Resemblance Index

Sociodemographic 84.26%
Gender 99.49%
% of Male 49.49% 49.24%
% of Female 50.51% 50.76%
Age 88.00%
% of Population Younger than Age 19 22.50% 25.40%
% of Population Between Ages 20 & 24 6.70% 6.90%
% of Population Between Ages 25 & 34 12.00% 13.80%
% of Population Between Ages 35 & 44 11.60% 12.60%
% of Population Between Ages 45 & 54 15.00% 13.20%
% of Population Between Ages 55 & 64 15.30% 12.80%
% of Population Aged 65 & Older 17.00% 15.20%
Race 41.30%
% of White Population 90.40% 61.10%
% of Hispanic Population 3.60% 17.80%
% of Black or African American Population 1.30% 12.30%
% of American Indian or Alaskan Population 0.10% 0.70%
% of Asian Population 2.70% 5.40%
% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Population 0.00% 0.20%
% of Other Population 1.90% 2.60%
Household Makeup 99.20%
% of Family Households (Families) 66.10% 65.70%
% of Non-Family Households 33.90% 34.30%
Family Relationship 88.00%
% of Population Who Are Householders 40.60% 38.00%
% of Population Who Are Spouses (in Households) 21.30% 18.40%
% of Population Who Are Children (in Households) 26.90% 30.10%
% of Population Represented by Other Relatives (in Households) 4.60% 7.40%
% of Population Represented by Nonrelatives (in Households) 6.60% 6.10%
Health Insurance Coverage 94.20%
% of Population with Health Insurance Coverage 93.50% 90.60%
% of Population without Health Insurance Coverage 6.50% 9.40%
Place of Birth 85.00%
% of Foreign-Born Population 6.00% 13.50%
% of Native Population 94.00% 86.50%
Economics 88.91%
% of Population with the Following Household Income Levels 82.00%
Less than $25,000 14.30% 20.20%
$25,000 – 34,999 7.90% 9.30%
$35,000 – 49,999 10.90% 12.60%
$50,000 – $74,999 17.50% 17.50%
$75,000 – $99,999 14.00% 12.50%
$100,000 – $149,999 18.50% 14.60%
$150,000 or More 16.90% 13.30%
Poverty Rate 89.60%
% of Families in Poverty 4.90% 10.10%
% of Families Above Poverty Line 95.10% 89.90%
Wealth Gap 12.46 16.49 75.53%
Food Stamp Entitlement of Households 89.97%
% of Households Receiving Food Stamps 7.21% 12.22%
% of Households not Receiving Food Stamps 92.79% 87.78%
Number of Part-Time Employees for Every 100 Full-Time Employees 47.69 47.93 99.50%
Unemployment Rate 2.50% 3.90% 98.60%
Length of Average Workweek 38.40 38.70 99.22%
Civilian Employed Population Aged 16 Years & Older by Industry 88.90%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, and Mining 0.80% 1.80%
Construction 6.90% 6.50%
Manufacturing 12.40% 10.20%
Wholesale Trade 2.80% 2.60%
Retail Trade 12.50% 11.30%
Transportation and Warehousing, and Utilities 3.70% 5.20%
Information 2.10% 2.10%
Finance and Insurance, and Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 6.40% 6.60%
Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative and Waste Management Services 10.90% 11.40%
Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance 24.70% 23.10%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, and Accommodation and Food Services 8.70% 9.70%
Other Services, except Public Administration 4.30% 4.90%
Public Administration 3.90% 4.60%
Education 92.09%
Educational Attainment 89.00%
% of People Aged 25 & Older with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher 36.50% 31.50%
% of People Aged 25 & Older with Some College Experience or Associate’s Degree 28.80% 29.00%
% of People Aged 25 & Older Who Are High School Graduates 27.60% 27.10%
% of People Aged 25 & Older Who Did Not Complete High School 7.10% 12.40%
School Enrollment 95.17%
% of Population Aged 3 & Older Enrolled in School 23.74% 26.16%
% of Population Aged 3 & Older not Enrolled in School 76.26% 73.84%
Religion 60.73%
Religious Composition of Adults 58.20%
Evangelical Protestant 13.00% 25.40%
Mainline Protestant 16.00% 14.70%
Historically Black Protestant 1.00% 6.50%
Catholic 26.00% 20.80%
Mormon 1.00% 1.60%
Orthodox Christian 0.10% 0.50%
Jehovah’s Witness 2.00% 0.80%
Jewish 2.00% 1.90%
Muslim 0.10% 0.90%
Buddhist 0.10% 0.70%
Hindu 0.10% 0.70%
Unaffiliated 35.50% 23.30%
Other Religions 3.10% 2.20%
Belief in God among Adults 60.00%
Believe in God; absolutely certain 43.00% 63.00%
Believe in God; fairly certain 26.00% 20.00%
Believe in God; not too/not at all certain 8.00% 5.00%
Believe in God; don’t know 1.00% 1.00%
Do not believe in God 16.00% 9.00%
Other/don’t know if they believe in God 6.00% 2.00%
Importance of Religion in One’s Life among Adults 64.00%
% Very religious 23.00% 37.00%
% Moderately religious 26.00% 30.00%
% Nonreligious 51.00% 33.00%
Public Opinions 83.88%
Party Affiliation among adults 96.00%
Republican/lean Rep. 40.00% 38.00%
Democrat/lean Dem. 43.00% 45.00%
No lean 17.00% 17.00%
Political Ideology among Adults 92.00%
Conservative 31.00% 33.00%
Moderate 39.00% 36.00%
Liberal 25.00% 24.00%
Don’t know 5.00% 7.00%
Views about Size of Government among Adults 74.00%
Smaller government; fewer services 64.00% 51.00%
Bigger government; more services 31.00% 42.00%
Depends 2.00% 3.00%
Don’t know 3.00% 4.00%
Views about Government Aid to the Poor among Adults 90.00%
Does more harm than good 40.00% 44.00%
Does more good than harm 54.00% 50.00%
Neither/both equally 3.00% 4.00%
Don’t know 3.00% 2.00%
Views about Abortion among Adults 72.00%
Legal in all/most cases 66.00% 53.00%
Illegal in all/most cases 29.00% 43.00%
Don’t know 5.00% 4.00%
Views about Homosexuality among Adults 80.00%
Should be accepted 71.00% 62.00%
Should be discouraged 21.00% 31.00%
Neither/both equally 4.00% 4.00%
Don’t know 4.00% 3.00%
Views about Same-Sex Marriage among Adults 70.00%
Strongly favor/favor 68.00% 53.00%
Oppose/strongly oppose 27.00% 39.00%
Don’t know 5.00% 8.00%
Views about Environmental Regulation among Adults 82.00%
Stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy 31.00% 38.00%
Stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost 66.00% 57.00%
Neither/both equally 2.00% 2.00%
Don’t know 1.00% 3.00%
Views about Human Evolution among Adults 72.00%
Evolved; due to natural processes 47.00% 33.00%
Evolved; due to God’s design 21.00% 25.00%
Evolved; don’t know how 2.00% 4.00%
Always existed in present form 27.00% 34.00%
Don’t know 3.00% 4.00%
Should Able-bodied, Mentally Capable Adults who Receive Welfare be Required to Work? 98.00%
Yes 74.00% 74.00%
Yes, adults who receive government benefits should be required to work 4.00% 4.00%
Yes, and eliminate welfare all together as it is not authorized in the Constitution 1.00% 1.00%
No 5.00% 6.00%
No, but in order to receive benefits they should be looking for a job or enrolled in education and job training programs 13.00% 13.00%
No, but their benefits would expire after two years of unemployment 2.00% 1.00%
No, “workfare” is a form of slave labor 1.00% 1.00%
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun? 96.63%
Yes 57.52% 59.18%
No 40.79% 40.82%
Other 1.68% 0.00%
OVERALL 81.97%

 
 

Ask the Experts

Over the years, New Hampshire has received incessant heat from critics for being the top primary-election state, along with Iowa, despite its population’s racial uniformity. Based on that fact, should it remain the first primary — second if the Iowa caucuses are considered first — to lead off the presidential-nominating contest? We turned to a panel of experts for answers. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. Does it make sense to have New Hampshire be the second primary contest given that its demographic and economic profile is very different from the national electorate?
  2. Do politicians have to wage a certain type of campaign in New Hampshire to succeed with voters? How does it differ from other states?
  3. How do you explain the high percentage of New Hampshire primary-election winners who have gone on to receive their party’s nomination — 60 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans — despite New Hampshire’s racial composition being so different from that of the country as a whole?

Methodology

To determine the areas in which New Hampshire most and least closely mirrors the demographic anatomy of the U.S. and its positions on certain issues, WalletHub’s analysts examined five key dimensions as they relate to New Hampshire: 1) Sociodemographics, 2) Economics, 3) Education, 4) Religion, and 5) Public Opinion.

First, we compiled 31 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. For each metric, we then calculated the absolute difference between the value for New Hampshire and the U.S. average value.

In order to calculate the Overall Resemblance Index, we weighted the differences based on each metric’s weight and calculated a score between 0 and 100, wherein 100 corresponds with a perfect match with the U.S. reference values.

In some cases due to the margins of error the percentages for the sub-components of a metric did not added up to 100%, in which cases we have made a slight proportional adjustment so that the sum of the percentages will be 100%.

Sociodemographics – Total Points: 20

  • Gender: Full Weight
    1. % of Male
    2. % of Female
  • Age: Full Weight
    1. % of Population Younger than Age 19
    2. % of Population Between Ages 20 & 24
    3. % of Population Between Ages 25 & 34
    4. % of Population Between Ages 35 & 44
    5. % of Population Between Ages 45 & 54
    6. % of Population Between Ages 55 & 64
    7. % of Population Aged 65 & Older
  • Race: Full Weight
    1. % of White Population
    2. % of Hispanic Population
    3. % of Black or African American Population
    4. % of American Indian or Alaskan Population
    5. % of Asian Population
    6. % of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Population
    7. % of Other Population
  • Household Makeup: Full Weight
    1. % of Family Households (Families)
    2. % of Non-Family Households
  • Family Relationship: Full Weight
    1. % of Population Who Are Householders
    2. % of Population Who Are Spouses (in Households)
    3. % of Population Who Are Children (in Households)
    4. % of Population Represented by Other Relatives (in Households)
    5. % of Population Represented by Nonrelatives (in Households)
  • Health Insurance Coverage: Half Weight
    1. % of Population with Health Insurance Coverage
    2. % of Population without Health Insurance Coverage
  • Place of Birth: Half Weight
    1. % of Foreign-Born Population
    2. % of Native Population

Economics – Total Points: 20

  • % of Population with the Following Household Income Levels: Full Weight
    1. Less than $25,000
    2. $25,000 – 34,999
    3. $35,000 – 49,999
    4. $50,000 – $74,999
    5. $75,000 – $99,999
    6. $100,000 – $149,999
    7. $150,000 or More
  • Poverty Rate: Half Weight
    1. % of Families in Poverty
    2. % of Families Above Poverty Line
  • Wealth Gap: Half Weight
  • Food Stamp Entitlement of Households: Half Weight
    1. % of Households Receiving Food Stamps
    2. % of Households not Receiving Food Stamps
  • Number of Part-Time Employees for Every 100 Full-Time Employees: Half Weight
  • Unemployment Rate: Half Weight
  • Length of Average Workweek: Quarter Weight
  • Civilian Employed Population Aged 16 & Older by Industry: Full Weight
    1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, and Mining
    2. Construction
    3. Manufacturing
    4. Wholesale Trade
    5. Retail Trade
    6. Transportation and Warehousing, and Utilities
    7. Information
    8. Finance and Insurance, and Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
    9. Professional, Scientific, and Management, and Administrative and Waste Management Services
    10. Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance
    11. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, and Accommodation and Food Services
    12. Other Services, except Public Administration
    13. Public Administration

Education – Total Points: 20

  • Educational Attainment: Full Weight
    1. % of People Aged 25 & Older with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
    2. % of People Aged 25 & Older with Some College Experience or Associate’s Degree
    3. % of People Aged 25 & Older Who Are High School Graduates
    4. % of People Aged 25 & Older Who Did Not Complete High School
  • School Enrollment: Full Weight
    1. % of Population Aged 3 & Older Enrolled in School
    2. % of Population Aged 3 & Older not Enrolled in School

Religion – Total Points: 20

  • Religious Composition of Adults: Full Weight
    1. Evangelical Protestant
    2. Mainline Protestant
    3. Historically Black Protestant
    4. Catholic
    5. Mormon
    6. Orthodox Christian
    7. Jehovah’s Witness
    8. Jewish
    9. Muslim
    10. Buddhist
    11. Hindu
    12. Unaffiliated
    13. Other Religions
  • Belief in God Among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Belief in God; absolutely certain
    2. Belief in God; fairly certain
    3. Belief in God; not too/not at all certain
    4. Belief in God; don’t know
    5. Do not believe in God
    6. Other/don’t know if they believe in God
  • Importance of Religion in One’s Life Among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Very religious
    2. Moderately religious
    3. Nonreligious

Public Opinions – Total Points: 20

  • Party Affiliation Among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Republican/lean Rep.
    2. No lean
    3. Democrat/lean Dem.
  • Political Ideology among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Conservative
    2. Moderate
    3. Liberal
    4. Don’t know
  • Views about Size of Government among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Smaller government; fewer services
    2. Bigger government; more services
    3. Depends
    4. Don’t know
  • Views about Government Aid to the Poor among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Does more harm than good
    2. Does more good than harm
    3. Neither/both equally
    4. Don’t know
  • Views about Abortion among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Legal in all/most cases
    2. Illegal in all/most cases
    3. Don’t know
  • Views about Homosexuality among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Should be accepted
    2. Should be discouraged
    3. Neither/both equally
    4. Don’t know
  • Views about Same-Sex Marriage among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Strongly favor/favor
    2. Oppose/strongly oppose
    3. Don’t know
  • Views about Environmental Regulation among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy
    2. Stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost
    3. Neither/both equally
    4. Don’t know
  • Views about Human Evolution among Adults: Full Weight
    1. Evolved; due to natural processes
    2. Evolved; due to God’s design
    3. Evolved; don’t know how
    4. Always existed in present form
    5. Don’t know
  • Should Able-bodied, Mentally Capable Adults who Receive Welfare be Required to work: Full Weight
    1. Yes
    2. Yes, adults who receive government benefits should be required to work
    3. Yes, and eliminate welfare all together as it is not authorized in the Constitution
    4. No
    5. No, but in order to receive benefits they should be looking for a job or enrolled in education and job training programs
    6. No, but their benefits would expire after two years of unemployment
    7. No, “workfare” is a form of slave labor
  • Should There Be More Restrictions on the Current Process of Purchasing a Gun: Full Weight
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Other

Sources: Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gallup, Pew Research Center and iSideWith.com.

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