United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012

Last updated on 17 September 2017

The 2012 United States presidential election in New Hampshire took place on November 6, 2012 as part of the 2012 General Election in which all 50 states plus The District of Columbia participated. New Hampshire voters chose four electors to represent them in the Electoral College via a popular vote pitting incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, against Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan.

On election day, New Hampshire voters chose to re-elect President Barack Obama, giving Obama 51.98% of the vote to Mitt Romney's 46.40%, a Democratic victory margin of 5.58%.

President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg
President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
New hampshire presidential election results 2012.svg
New hampshire presidential election results 2012.svg


New Hampshire held its primaries on January 10, 2012. The state is historically the first in the nation to hold presidential primaries, and moved its date up from February after Florida moved its primary date to January 31. Because New Hampshire has a proportional-delegate primary, the state's 12 national delegates will be allocated in proportion to candidates' percent of the popular vote.[1][2]

Democratic primary

Incumbent president Barack Obama won all the delegates and was renominated.

A Democratic presidential candidates debate, held at Saint Anselm College in December 2011, was attended by seven candidates; Obama did not participate.[3]

60,659 votes were cast in the primary. Obama won with 49,080 votes. The total votes cast were more than 30 percent fewer than in 1996, the last time that a Democratic president ran for re-election without significant opposition.[4]

Candidate Votes[5] Percentage Delegates
Barack Obama 49,080 80.91% 10
Ron Paul 2,289 3.77% -
Mitt Romney 1,814 2.99% -
Jon Huntsman 1,238 2.04% -
Ed Cowan 945 1.56% -
Vermin Supreme 833 1.37% -
Randall Terry 446 1% -
Scatter 772 1.27% -
John D. Haywood 423 0.70% -
Craig Freis 400 0.66% -
Rick Santorum 302 0.50% -
Bob Ely 287 0.47% -
Newt Gingrich 276 0.46% -
Cornelius Edward O'Connor 265 0.44% -
Darcy Richardson 264 0.44% -
John Wolfe, Jr. 245 0.40% -
Edward T. O'Donnell 222 0.37% -
Bob Greene 213 0.35% -
Robert B. Jordan 155 0.26% -
Aldous C. Tyler 106 0.17% -
Buddy Roemer 29 0.05% -
Fred Karger 26 0.04% -
Rick Perry 17 0.03% -
Stewart Greenleaf 4 0.01% -
Gary Johnson 4 0.01% -
Michael Meehan 4 0.01% -
Michele Bachmann 2 0.00% -
Herman Cain 1 0.00% -

Republican primary

Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
Ron Paul by Gage Skidmore 3 crop.jpg
Ron Paul by Gage Skidmore 3 crop.jpg
Ambassador Jon Huntsman.jpg
Ambassador Jon Huntsman.jpg
Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary Election Results by County, 2012.svg
New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary Election Results by County, 2012.svg

The Republican primary took place on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.[7] Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the primary.


Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum were heavily contesting and campaigning in the New Hampshire primary. Santorum won the Iowa Caucus on January 3, but no one knew that yet, and believed Romney had won by 8 votes.

Televised debates in New Hampshire were held on January 7, 2012, on ABC News at Saint Anselm College and the following morning on January 8, 2012, on NBC's Meet the Press and MSNBC. All major Republican candidates attended both debates.


In 2012, a record 33 Republican candidates filed to appear on the ballot in New Hampshire, including various single-issue activists, protest candidates, and perennial candidates.[8] For instance, Stewart Greenleaf, who had no interest in becoming President, registered for the ballot to promote the issue of government spending in the Republican Party.[9] Under New Hampshire's lenient ballot access laws, a candidate is only required to pay $1,000 to the state's treasury, and needs no party approval or petitions for placement.[10]


Various newspapers that circulate widely in New Hampshire made endorsements ahead of the New Hampshire primary.[11] While the conservative Union Leader, the only statewide newspaper, endorsed Gingrich, various newspapers endorsed Huntsman, with the Valley News stating that Huntsman was "a candidate whose views are solidly conservative, but not myopically so" and criticizing Romney and Gingrich, stating that "The former has raised the flip-flop to an art form, while the latter has done the same for hypocrisy" and endorsing Huntsman "in the hopes that the cooler heads will prevail in New Hampshire and elsewhere." Romney also received support, including from the Portsmouth Herald of the Seacoast Region.[12]

Romney led the field in endorsements from New Hampshire Republican elected officials.[26] The New York Times reported that after losing New Hampshire in the 2008 primary to John McCain, Romney devoted considerable time and money to gain the support of New Hampshire Republican figures.[26] Romney's political action committee (PAC) "spread thousands of dollars" to New Hampshire Republican campaigns, including that of youthful Republican state Representative D.J. Bettencourt of the Republican-heavy Salem area, elected state House majority leader in 2011, who is one of Romney's most active supporters.[26] Romney's PAC also donated $25,000 to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee under the chairmanship of prominent New Hampshire party player John H. Sununu, a former governor and White House Chief of Staff.[26] Republican candidates for state Senate and state House, small-town Republican committees, and county sheriffs and district attorneys were all "recipients of [Romney's] largesse."[27] Romney was criticized by some as "buying" endorsements, who referenced "blatantly transactional terms that lie behind the announcements."[28] A large number of officials endorsing Romney, in New Hampshire and in other early primary states, had received contributions first.[29]

By December 11, Romney had already received the endorsement of Ted Gatsas, mayor of Manchester (New Hampshire's largest city) and former state Senate president, and 58 endorsements from state representatives.[30] According to prominent Romney supporter Thomas D. Rath, a former state attorney general described as a Republican power broker, on the eve of the primary the Romney campaign had been endorsed by 11 of 19 Republicans in the State Senate, 73 or 74 of the Republican state representatives, and eight of the 10 sheriffs, as well as the mayor of the largest city.[26] The New York Times reported that so many officials endorsed Romney that it took a three-page pamphlet mailed to New Hampshire Republicans to list them all. The Times reported that Romney-supporting officials "introduce him at virtually every campaign stop, flood gyms and seniors centers with crowds on short notice and attack his Republican rivals."[26]

Of the three Republicans in New Hampshire's congressional delegation, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Charles Bass endorsed Romney, while Frank Guinta declined to endorse a candidate.[31] Executive Council members Raymond S. Burton (who has represented northern New Hampshire since the 1970s),[26] Christopher T. Sununu, and Raymond Wieczorek; State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, state Senators David Boutin, John Barnes, Jr., Jim Rausch, and Chuck Morse; and former state Senate President Tom Eaton endorsed Romney before December 7.[32] Douglas Dutile, the sheriff of Grafton County, also endorsed Romney.[26]

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who won the New Hampshire Republican primary in 2000 and 2008 and was the Republican nominee for president in 2008, endorsed Romney following the Iowa caucuses and ahead of the New Hampshire primary at a Manchester rally on January 4,[33] despite prior tension between the two in the 2008 primary race.[34][35]

After Iowa but before the New Hampshire primaries, tea party movement-aligned Buffalo, New York businessman Carl Paladino, the 2010 gubernatorial candidate in nearby New York, supported Gingrich and sharply criticized the rest of the candidates.[36]

New Hampshire House Speaker William L. (Bill) O'Brien endorsed Gingrich, while former House speakers George Roberts, Howard Burns, John Tucker, Donna Sytek, and Doug Scamman endorsed Romney.[37][38][39] State Senators Jim Forsythe, Andy Sanborn, and Ray White endorsed Ron Paul.

Notably, former PA Sen. Rick Santorum gained a disproportionately high number of endorsements (when compared to his pre-Iowa polling in the single digits) in the run up to and including the NH Primary. At one point Santorum led the entire field of GOP candidates in total number of endorsements (until the entrance of Romney and Perry), and finished with more endorsees than even Huntsman who finished third in the race. This was due in large part to the efforts of Santorum's State Co-chairs: Rep. Dan Tamburello, a current member of the NH House of Representatives from Londonderry who spearheaded the effort, Hon. Bill Cahill, a former Governor's Councilor and member of the NH House, and Claira Monier, a notable Republican party activist who was instrumental in Reagan's NH victory in 1980. Sen Santorum's national campaign manager was by Mike Biundo, who was the architect of former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta's surprising 2010 primary upset for the NH 1st Congressional district; Guinta went on to win the NH-1 district in November 2010 in a decisive victory over Democrat Carol-Shea Porter, who never conceded the race. Other notable endorsements for the Senator included Sen. Jim Luther, Sen. Fenton Groen, former candidate for Governor Karen Testerman, Rep Susan DeLemus, and NH Tea-Party luminary Jerry DeLemus. Testerman and the DeLemus' endorsed Rick after having defected from the Bachmann camp.


New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary Election Results by Town, 2012.png
New Hampshire results by municipality
  Mitt Romney
  Ron Paul
  Jon Huntsman
  Not reported

General election

2012 New Hampshire Presidential polling

New Hampshire was rated as a Toss Up[45][46][47] to Lean D[48][49] state. Polling showed a consistent single digit polling lead for President Obama.


United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012[50]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 369,561 51.98% 4
Republican Mitt Romney Paul Ryan 329,918 46.40% 0
Libertarian Gary Johnson Jim Gray 8,212 1.16% 0
Others Others 2,573 0.36% 0
Constitution Virgil Goode Jim Clymer 708 0.10% 0
Totals 710,972 100.00% 4

By county

County Obama Votes Romney Votes Others Votes Total
Belknap County 46.89% 15,890 51.85% 17,571 1.26% 426 33,887
Carroll County 48.87% 13,977 49.67% 14,207 1.46% 418 28,602
Cheshire County 61.36% 25,380 36.64% 15,156 2.00% 824 41,360
Coos County 57.93% 9,095 40.40% 6,342 1.67% 262 15,699
Grafton County 60.85% 29,826 37.15% 18,208 2.00% 980 49,014
Hillsborough County 49.74% 102,303 48.62% 99,991 1.64% 3,373 205,667
Merrimack County 55.59% 44,756 42.88% 34,524 1.53% 1,234 80,514
Rockingham County 47.03% 80,142 51.59% 87,921 1.38% 2,360 170,423
Strafford County 56.32% 36,026 41.78% 26,729 1.90% 1,214 63,969
Sullivan County 55.71% 12,166 42.45% 9,269 1.84% 402 21,837

See also


  1. ^ "Election Guide 2012 - Presidential Election - Politics". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Candidates win delegates in proportion to the votes they get, though they must win at least 10 percent of the ballots cast to be eligible for the allocation. The statewide winner gets the remainder of the 12 delegates if the threshold requirement leaves some unaccounted for.": Giroux, Greg (January 10, 2012). "New Hampshire primary: How it works and how the candidates are faring". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ http://www.unionleader.com/article/20111220/NEWS0605/712209967
  4. ^ John Nichols (January 11, 2012). "New Hampshire Results Point to a Notable Democratic Enthusiasm Gap". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  5. ^ "New Hampshire Democratic Delegation 2012". The Green Papers. January 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  6. ^ Huntsman still has his 2 NH delegates...for now, DemocraticConventionWatch.com (Feb. 2, 2012)
  7. ^ CNN.com: New Hampshire to vote Jan. 10
  8. ^ "N.H. primary ballot becomes equalizer between top-tier, perennial candidates". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on October 31, 2011.
  9. ^ http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/132971083.html
  10. ^ Memoli, Michael A. (October 28, 2011). "Record number of Republicans file for New Hampshire primary". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Paul Briand, "Rundown of NH newspaper endorsements in GOP presidential race" (January 6, 2012). Examiner.com.
  12. ^ Ros Krasny, "Huntsman gets New Hampshire newspaper endorsements" (December 18, 2011). Reuters.
  13. ^ Joseph W. McQuaid. "An Editorial: For President, Newt Gingrich" (November 27, 2011). New Hampshire Union Leader.
  14. ^ "Mitt Romney: Best suited to be the GOP's standard-bearer" (December 4, 2011). Foster's Daily Democrat.
  15. ^ "Economic smarts make Romney best of GOP field" (December 18, 2011). Portsmouth Herald.
  16. ^ "Jon Huntsman" (December 18, 2011). Keene Sentinel.
  17. ^ "Jon Huntsman: The Better Choice" (December 18, 2011). Valley News.
  18. ^ "Editorial: Romney to Win" (December 21, 2011). Conway Daily Sun.
  19. ^ "Huntsman is the best choice for GOP" (December 22, 2011). Concord Monitor.
  20. ^ "Endorsement: Nation needs Romney" (December 28, 2011). Boston Herald.
  21. ^ Kenneth Rapoza, "Three NH Newspapers Endorse Ron Paul" (January 4, 2012). Forbes.
  22. ^ "Romney our choice for GOP nomination" (December 5, 2011). Nashua Telegraph.
  23. ^ "For vision and national unity, Huntsman for GOP nominee" (January 6, 2012). Boston Globe.
  24. ^ https://news.yahoo.com/jon-huntsmans-global-warming-views-earn-kudos-boston-172800753.html
  25. ^ "Editorial: Romney is best choice in New Hampshire" (January 6, 2011). Eagle-Tribune.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Nicholas Confessore, "For Romney, Friends in High Places Help Get Out the N.H. Vote" (January 9, 2012), New York Times.
  27. ^ Alec MacGillis, "Unremitting: How Romney wore down New Hampshire" (November 3, 2011). New Republic.
  28. ^ Alec MacGillis, "Buys, Er, Receives Haley Nod" (December 16, 2011). New Republic.
  29. ^ Edward Matson, "35 Romney endorsers received contributions first: Mitt takes the endorsement game "to a whole new level" (January 7, 2011). Salon.
  30. ^ Shira Schoenberg, "Mayor Ted Gatsas endorses Mitt Romney" (December 11, 2011). Boston Globe.
  31. ^ Lauren W. Whittington, "Frank Guinta Declines to Make Pre-Primary Endorsement" (January 8, 2011). Roll Call.
  32. ^ Shira Schoenberg, "Mitt Romney plans mailer for New Hampshire" (December 7, 2011). Boston Herald.
  33. ^ Katharine Q. Seelye and Jeff Zeleny, "McCain Backs Romney After Santorum's Surge in Iowa (January 4, 2012). New York Times.
  34. ^ Peter Schroeder, "McCain downplays tension with Romney" (January 8, 2012). The Hill.
  35. ^ Michael D. Shear, "Does McCain's Endorsement Really Help Romney? (January 5, 2012). New York Times.
  36. ^ Benjy Sarlin, "Carl Paladino Trash-Talks The Entire GOP Field (Except Newt)" (January 8, 2012). Talking Points Memo.
  37. ^ Amy Gardner, "Gingrich collects endorsements from Iowa, New Hampshire House speakers, faces Occupy-style protesters" (December 21, 2011). Washington Post.
  38. ^ Philip Rucker, "In N.H. and Iowa, Gingrich and Romney engage in endorsements duel" (December 20, 2011). Washington Post.
  39. ^ Michael Falcone and Amy Walter, "Rivals Try To Rain On Romney’s New Hampshire Parade" (December 21, 2011). ABC News.
  40. ^ "New Hampshire Secretary of State 2012 Presidential Primary Election Results". Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  41. ^ "2012 Election: Primaries". USA Today.
  42. ^ "Iowa Results". CNN. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012.
  43. ^ [1]
  44. ^ List also contain write-ins votes for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin: http://www.sos.nh.gov/presprim2012/Republican%20Write-Ins.pdf
  45. ^ Charlie Cook (July 2, 2012). "The Cook Political Report: 2012 Electoral Vote Scorecard".
  46. ^ Larry Sabato (Aug 2, 2012). "Sabato's Crystal Ball: Tight national race freezes electoral college map".
  47. ^ RealClearPolitics (Aug 4, 2012). "Real Clear Politics: Battle for White House".
  48. ^ Huffington Post (August 4, 2012). "Huffpost politics: Obama vs. Romney electoral map".
  49. ^ Nate Silver (August 4, 2012). "The New York Times: What Are Paul Ryan’s Chances of Becoming President?".
  50. ^ "New Hampshire Secretary of State". Retrieved 2012-11-10.

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