Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Voters Change New Hampshire

I’ve stated many times that John Edwards‘ attempts to win the nomination as John Kerry did by using an Iowa victory to gain momentum in New Hampshire, and move on to win the rest of the primaries, is unlikely to be successful. Edwards’ populism receives some support in Iowa but his conservativism on social and civil liberties issues along with his economic populism are the opposite to the views of many New Hampshire voters. The Chicago Tribune has reviewed the demographic changes which made New Hampshire flip to the Democrats:

“The independents are not listening to the Republican candidates,” said Ray Buckley, chairman of the state Democratic Party. For Democrats, he said, “suddenly there’s 100,000 or more new voters who are listening to them.”

For the Democratic presidential candidates, that may mean moderating their message for a broader audience, such as independents who traditionally have voted Republican. For the Republicans, it may mean tailoring their conversation to appeal more directly to registered Republicans, with undeclared voters increasingly out of reach.

The shift stems largely from an influx of voters drawn by the state’s booming software and defense industries. Many share what one observer calls a “Silicon Valley” sensibility — a mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism that currently is attracting them to the Democrats.

Both parties have a growing segment of socially liberal and fiscally conservative voters. The “Starbucks Republicans” were forced to abandon the Republicans as the religious right took control. Some might see Ron Paul’s candidacy as an alternative, but Paul’s social conservativism and affiliation with extremist right wing groups limits his support to a minuscule (but noisy) segment of the population.

In 2004, led by socially liberal and somewhat fiscally conservative candidates such as John Kerry and Howard Dean, the Democrats laid the groundwork for an influx of such voters in 2006. At present it remains uncertain whether the Democrats will continue to offer a home to these voters or, believing victory is certain, move to the left on economic policy (and continue to compromise on social and civil liberties issues). If the Democrats fail to understand the changing demographics in New Hampshire, as well as much of the rest of the country, we may see a resurgence of the Republican Party, or perhaps even the development of a viable third party which represents those of us whose views have not been represented well by either party in the past.

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  1. 1
    Maverick says:

    “a mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism that currently is attracting them to the Democrats.”

    More than likely it will attract them to Rudy Giuliani.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, an authoritarian warmonger like Giuliani is the opposite of what such voters want. Giuliani might look attractive to those who take a superficial look at him, but Giuliani’s social liberalism is greatly exaggerated. There ‘s also a difference between fiscal conservativism and Giuliani’s Voodoo Economics.

  3. 3
    Maverick says:

    When faced with the choice of “Giuliani’s voodoo economics” or Hillary’s economics, I doubt Hillary’s spending and taxes will seem at all attractive to fiscal conservatives.

    So they can vote for someone who’s close to their views (Giuliani), or someone who’s far from them (Hillary).

    Oh yeah…you’re right, they’ll choose Hillary [sarcasm].

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    Sorry, but you’ll never convince us socially liberal, fiscally conservative voters to consider Giuliani. If Giuliani were closer to the views of such voters than Clinton, we wouldn’t be seeing them going towards the Democrats.

    Note that Michael (in the post tracked here above) considers Clinton a candidate who is more attractive to such voters. The truth is somewhere in between, but far closer to Michael’s views. Hillary’s views on social issues are a great disasppointment to social liberals, but remain far preferable to Giuliani’s far right wing views.

    I suspect that Michael believes Clinton will receive the support of such voters because of the new Democratic voters which the party picked up due to the economic policies of Bill Clinton. There is some truth to this, but so far such voters are leaning more towards Obama. I have discussed this in previous posts such as here.

    While it technically doesn’t fall under either socially liberal or fiscally conservative, the other characteristic of such voters is opposition to the Iraq war. Clinton’s position here falls short of Obama, but is far preferable to Giuliani’s.

    Comparing Clinton to Giuliani, Clinton is far from ideal, but is far more attractive to us socially liberal, fiscally conservative voters than Giuliani on social issues, civil liberties issues, economic issues, and the war. It would be choice between a candidate who is not ideal and one who is totally unacceptable.

  5. 5
    John says:

    I lived there 7 years. The “blue shift” in New Hampshire is very simple. Folks, mostly Democrats, have been leaving Mass and moving into the Salem-Nashua-Portsmouth areas of southern New Hampshire counties. The Libertarian-Republicans don’t like the Evangelo-Fascist wing of the Republican party. But, they still don’t like Democrats.

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