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New Hampshire: Can the swing state help Donald Trump keep the presidency?

Andrew Naughtie
·2-min read
<p>Donald Trump rallies the faithful in Manchester, New Hampshire</p> (AP)

Donald Trump rallies the faithful in Manchester, New Hampshire

(AP)

A narrowly-won Clinton state that Donald Trump badly wants to flip, could New England’s only swing state decide the election?

What’s at stake

New Hampshire is one of only a handful of states Donald Trump is thought to have a chance of pulling away from the Democrats. It carries only four electoral votes, but with Joe Biden apparently eating into Mr Trump’s relatively fragile Electoral College lead, the president will need every electoral vote he can get – and claiming a state in the Democratic stronghold of New England would be a symbolic triumph in itself.

Last time around

Hillary Clinton famously won the New Hampshire primary against Barack Obama in 2008, but lost it by a mortifying 22 points to Bernie Sanders in 2016. She went on to scrape out an ultra-thin win against Mr Trump, carrying the state by less than 0.4 points.

Read more: Where does Joe Biden stand on the big 2020 election issues?

On the ground

A very white state by US standards, New Hampshire has a famously libertarian-leaning electorate (as alluded to in the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die”), and its voting record in presidential and congressional elections trends moderate rather than socially conservative. It has suffered greatly in the opioid addiction epidemic of the last several years; during the coronavirus pandemic so far, it has seen just under 500 deaths.

Read more: The Electoral College, explained

The home stretch

As in various other states, the polls in New Hampshire have seen Mr Biden slowly but steadily widen his lead over Mr Trump since the spring, pulling it out of the true tossup column. Nonetheless, the president is determinedly going after the state, holding a rally in the city of Manchester with just a week to go before Election Day.

Alluding to Mr Biden’s fifth-place finish in the state’s February primary, he declared: “Sleepy Joe Biden doesn't care about New Hampshire. He left this state before the primary was even over. He abandoned you.”