Understanding the New Hampshire primary results

As Sanders and Trump claim victories on the road to the 2016 presidential election, what can we expect next?


    Manchester, New Hampshire - The presidential primary in New Hampshire may not have settled anything - but it taught us a lot.

    The wins for Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats were widely predicted in the polls.

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    And for once they got it right.

    But this was also a clear message that the voting public in the US is fed up with politics as usual.

    They are tired and angry that, despite all the speeches and all the promises, things rarely get better for them.

    And it also shows how deeply split the Republican and Democratic parties really are. The fractures are now there for everyone to see.

    A lot more to Sanders' victory

    For the Democrats, a self-described socialist and rapidly established liberal icon has lost narrowly in Iowa and won handsomely in New Hampshire.

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was predicted to do well in New Hampshire because he comes from the state next door, and that gives him name recognition.

    But there was a lot more to his victory. After all, there aren't many politicians in the US who are as well-known as Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders' message of free college at some universities, or taxing Wall Street and pushing for a redistribution of wealth and opportunity, has struck a chord, particularly with young people.

    It may be that, as one Sanders supporter told me at a rally in Derry on Monday: "Hillary's going to win the nomination. This is a protest vote. This might keep her honest."

    But if he can convert the good will from the first two contests in overwhelmingly white states to financial backing and enthusiasm elsewhere, Sanders might be able to challenge Clinton in the south and make this race last longer than anyone expected.

    For her part, watch for a reshuffle in the Clinton campaign. For someone who initially enjoyed big leads in both states, the results are not toxic - but if things don't change, the stench of trouble could become overwhelming.

    'The Donald'

    On the Republican side, Donald Trump managed to tap into a similar vein as Sanders, claiming the US was struggling, its safety was threatened, and life simply wasn't getting better.

    His speeches lack the detail of how he would fix things, but he has clearly identified the concerns. And many people believe the billionaire businessman is not only articulating their fears, but might actually be able to do something to address them.

    His win here in New Hampshire was comfortable and substantial. After his second place in Iowa, it needed to be just that.

    But for those who thought the Trump campaign would end with its inevitable implosion, he is now clearly established as the Republican frontrunner. And at this stage, early though it is, he is the man most likely to succeed.

    And it may stay that way for some time. No clear challenger is emerging.

    Florida Senator Marco Rubio seemed set to take the establishment lane and challenge after a third-place finish in Iowa, gathering momentum through endorsements and backing. But he had an awful time in New Hampshire. He tanked in the big debate at the weekend, and finished behind Jeb Bush, someone he's spent a long time attacking.

    Alan Fisher interviews Scottie Nell Hughes, adviser to the Donald Trump campaign [Chris Sheridan/Al Jazeera]

    John Kasich emerged through the field, his gamble to begin his campaign in New Hampshire paid off. The Ohio Governor came in a respectable second. The challenge for him is to convince voters he's conservative enough to win the primary, and moderate enough to win the general election.

    It'll be quite a battle in the next few weeks.

    If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie quits the race as expected, it will still leave Bush, Rubio and Kasich as the anti-Trump candidates. And the longer it takes for one of them to emerge, the longer the splitting of the vote makes it better for "The Donald".

    Ted Cruz knew that perhaps New Hampshire wasn't the most fertile ground for him. But after his win in Iowa, his uncompromising conservative message got him to third place here.

    Cruz, perhaps more than anyone, benefitted from Rubio's sudden loss of momentum. He is well organised and well funded in the south, where the nominating contest turns next, and he will be confident of performing well there.

    Primaries and caucuses now start to come thick and fast on both sides. And this race will remain hugely unpredictable.

     Sanders and Trump win big in New Hampshire primary

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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