By Ben Kamisar
Sanders poised for NH victory
New Hampshire voters appear poised to deliver a big victory in Tuesday night's primary to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDebate: Hillary must play for millennials, not wait for Trump to lose them Juan Williams: Verdict on big debate will be instantaneous Clinton, Sanders to campaign together in New Hampshire MORE (I-Vt.).
Sanders leads Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEconomists have a message: Clinton's policies are wrong for America Trump endorsed by immigration officers Poll: Half of voters relying on presidential debates to decide 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 ObamaTrump's new debate challenge: Silence WATCH LIVE: Obama speaks at African American Museum opening Obama talks racial tension at African-American museum opening 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