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New Hampshire voters appear poised to deliver a big victory in Tuesday night's primary to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMichael Moore warns Dems: Now is not the time to gloat Warren: 'Today is a great day... but I'm not doing a touchdown dance' Sanders: Canceled ObamaCare repeal vote 'major victory' for working class MORE (I-Vt.).
Sanders leads Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonComet Ping Pong shooter pleads guilty Time for 'J. Edgar' Comey to take his leave Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race MORE by a wide margin in the earliest releases after the first round of polls closed at 7 p.m. With just more than 4 percent reporting, Sanders led with 54 percent of the vote compared to 44 percent for Clinton, according to The Associated Press.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicted that the high voter turnout could run near or eclipse a state record.
News reports from across the state support those predictions. Even at some polling places that closed at 7 p.m., reports showed massive lines in polling places, including what MSNBC called a more than mile-long line of cars trying to get into a polling site in Merrimack.
Sanders is seeking a win that could catapult him to success in upcoming states where the demographics include more minority voters.
Clinton allies are likely to shrug off a loss by noting that Sanders resides in neighboring Vermont and is a favorite son of sorts.
Yet a sizable loss for Clinton will still raise questions. She won New Hampshire over Barack ObamaBarack ObamaChristie: No evidence Trump was spied on Pence pushes Manchin in home state to support Gorsuch Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race MORE in 2008, and held a 16-point lead over Sanders as recently as late June.
Clinton barely beat Sanders in Iowa, where he argued that they finished in a virtual tie. The former secretary of State took 700.47 state delegate equivalents, or 49.84 percent, to Sanders’s 696.92 state delegate equivalents, or 49.59 percent. So a clean win would give the senator his largest victory so far in the Democratic contest.
Sanders has also benefited from strong support from young voters, raising questions about whether Clinton can win over millennials who were an important part of the Obama constituency.
The next contest after New Hampshire for Democrats is the Nevada caucuses, on Feb. 20, following by the South Carolina primary on Feb. 27. Clinton is ahead in polls in both states