The 1996 United States Senate election in New Hampshire was held on November 4, 1996. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator
Bob Smith won re-election to a second term. Smith had established himself as the most conservative Senator from the Northeast, and
Bill Clinton's coattails nearly caused his defeat. On the night of the election many American media networks incorrectly projected that
Swett had won.
^Crabtree, Susan (December 2, 1996).
"1996 Ad". Insight on the News. Retrieved April 29, 2012. An incorrect exit poll by
Voter News Service, or VNS, resulted in an early and ultimately incorrect projection of victory in New Hampshire for Democratic Senate candidate Dick Swett over Republican incumbent Sen. Robert C. Smith. "Every election night, you know, its cardiac-arrest time in some state, in some race - sometimes in several races,"
Dan Rather explained at 9:40 p.m. EST. "This race is as hot and tight as a too-small bathing suit on a too-long car ride back from the beach." But the network "oops" came too late for a number of newspapers that featured Swett's exit-poll victory in their early editions.