2004 United States presidential election in New Hampshire Information

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2004 United States presidential election in New Hampshire

←  2000 November 2, 2004 2008 →
  John F. Kerry.jpg George-W-Bush.jpeg
Nominee John Kerry George W. Bush
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Massachusetts Texas
Running mate John Edwards Dick Cheney
Electoral vote 4 0
Popular vote 340,511 331,237
Percentage 50.24% 48.87%

New Hampshire Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

George W. Bush

The 2004 United States presidential election in New Hampshire took place on November 2, 2004, and was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Voters chose 4 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

New Hampshire was won by Democratic nominee John Kerry by a 1.4% margin of victory. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered it as a swing state. Traditionally a more Republican leaning state of the heavily Democratic New England region, it was the only state in all of the Northeast to vote Republican in 2000. The state is considered to be more fiscally conservative than its neighbors in New England. However, like the rest of New England, it is considerably more liberal on social issues, which benefits Democratic candidates. New Hampshire was the only state that Bush won in the 2000 presidential election but lost in the 2004 presidential election. This is the first time that a Republican won a presidential election while losing New Hampshire, while Bush became the second consecutive Republican president (after his father) to lose New Hampshire in his second election having won it in his first. This would also be the first time since 1976 that New Hampshire would back the losing candidate in a presidential election.


Democratic primary

2004 New Hampshire Democratic primary

←  2000 January 27, 2004 (2004-01-27) 2008 →
  John F. Kerry.jpg HowardDeanDNC-cropped (cropped).jpg General Wesley Clark official photograph, edited.jpg
Candidate John Kerry Howard Dean Wesley Clark
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Home state Massachusetts Vermont Illinois
Popular vote 84,377 57,761 27,314
Percentage 38.4% 26.3% 12.4%

  John Edwards, official Senate photo portrait.jpg Joe Lieberman official portrait 2 (cropped).jpg Denniskucinich1.jpg
Candidate John Edwards Joe Lieberman Dennis Kucinich
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Home state North Carolina Connecticut Ohio
Popular vote 26,487 18,911 3,114
Percentage 12.0% 8.6% 1.4%

The 2004 New Hampshire Democratic Primary was held on January 27, 2004. Taking place 8 days after the Iowa caucuses, it marked the second contest to take place during the Democratic party's 2004 primary season, as well as the first actual primary to take place.


Primary polling taken by American Research Group during the last few days of campaigning ( January 23 to January 27, 2004 ) showed that former New Hampshire poll leader as well as national leader Howard Dean was steadily gaining ground to catch up to now front-runner John Kerry.

Candidate January 23 to 25 poll tracking January 24 to 26 poll tracking
John Kerry 38% 35%
Howard Dean 20% 25%
John Edwards 16% 15%
Wesley Clark 15% 13%
Joe Lieberman 5% 6%

Gathered from ARG's 2004 NH Democratic Tracking Poll [1]

Margin of Error +/- 4

Tracking polling showed that Dean had been catching up to Kerry in the days before the primary, cutting Kerry's 18 point lead to 10 points in a matter of days. With Dean dropping and Kerry rising, it became apparent that the battle for 1st place in New Hampshire would be close. Also, for third place, Wesley Clark, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman were the only ones fighting for third. With Clark and Edwards both taking hits going into the primary, a Lieberman on the rise, the fight for 1st place and third place, according to polls would be intense.


As results began to come in during Primary night, it became apparent Kerry had won the primary and was promptly projected the winner by several media outlets. Dean finished in second place. Clark and Edwards were in a dead-lock for third place, with both candidates at 12% during the night. Earlier returns showed Lieberman in a stronger position to tie with Clark and Edwards, allowing him to declare to his supporters that it was "a three-way split decision for third place." [2]

As final results were being tallied, Kerry won the primary with 84,277 votes and 38%, Dean finished second, with 57,761 and 26%, and Clark narrowly defeated Edwards for third place, with 27,314 votes and 12%. [3] Lieberman had fallen back in the count and didn't even reach 10%.

Candidate Votes Percentage Potential
John Kerry 84,377 38.35 12
Howard Dean 57,761 26.25 9
Wesley Clark 27,314 12.41 0
John Edwards 26,487 12.04 0
Joe Lieberman 18,911 8.59 0
Dennis Kucinich 3,114 01.42 0
Exit Polling
Category All Clark Dean Edwards Kerry Lieberman
Male 46% 13% 25% 14% 36% 10%
Female 54% 12% 26% 11% 41% 8%
18-64 Years 89% 12% 25% 13% 39% 8%
65+ Years 11% 10% 28% 10% 38% 13%
Democrat 48% 11% 29% 12% 41% 5%
Republican 4% 10% 8% 9% 29% 26%
Independent 48% 13% 23% 13% 37% 12%

Source: CNN.com 2004 Primaries [4]

Kerry won huge margins of support amongst almost all constituencies, with his only weak point amongst Republicans, who made up 4% of the voting block and was Lieberman's strongest point. Dean repeatedly came distant second or third for almost all categories of voters. Edward defeated Clark amongst male voters as well as voters under 65, but only by a very tiny margin. Lieberman finished in a distant third in almost all categories except for Republicans, in which he nearly defeated John Kerry.



There were 12 news organizations who made state-by-state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day. [5]

  1. D.C. Political Report: Slight Democrat
  2. Associated Press: Toss-up
  3. CNN: Kerry
  4. Cook Political Report: Toss-up
  5. Newsweek: Toss-up
  6. New York Times: Toss-up
  7. Rasmussen Reports: Toss-up
  8. Research 2000: Toss-up
  9. Washington Post: Battleground
  10. Washington Times: Battleground
  11. Zogby International: Kerry
  12. Washington Dispatch: Kerry


Pre-election polling was back and forth, with no clear indication who would end up winning the state. The final 3 polls averaged Kerry leading 48% to 47%, with the undecided voters, making up just 3%, deciding the election. [6]


Bush raised $598,474. [7] Kerry raised $766,720. [8]

Advertising and visits

Bush visited the state 6 times, while Kerry visited the state 4 times. [9] Each campaign spent between $100,000 to $300,000 each week. [10]


New Hampshire, historically considered to be a more conservative state compared to the rest of New England, had by the early 2000s become a swing state in presidential elections, having voted for Democrat Bill Clinton twice in the 1990s but narrowly choosing Republican George W. Bush in 2000. However the state began heavily trending Democratic after 2000. Bush's approval ratings were consistently below 50% in 2004. [11] Also, polling in the state consistently showed Kerry leading, and with between 47% to 50% of the vote. [12]

On election day, Kerry won with just over 50% of the vote, with a small margin of victory, as expected from the polls. Major factors include Bush's lower approval ratings and just 1% who voted for third-party candidates, unlike 2000 when over 4% of the people voted for an independent. Kerry won 6 of the 10 counties. Most of the counties were won and lost by small margins. Kerry's key to victory was winning Cheshire County with over 59%. Bush's best performance was in Belknap County, which he won with over 55% and carrying every single town. Bush won New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, and Kerry won New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district. This was also the first presidential election since 1968 when Coos County would back the losing candidate, and only the second time since 1892 when that would occur overall.


2004 United States presidential election in New Hampshire
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic John Kerry 340,511 50.24% 4
Republican George W. Bush (inc.) 331,237 48.87% 0
Independent Ralph Nader 4,479 0.66% 0
Write Ins 978 0.14% 0
Libertarian (Write-in) Michael Badnarik (Write-in) 372 0.05% 0
Constitution (Write-in) Michael Peroutka (Write-in) 161 0.02% 0
Totals 677,738 100.00% 4
Voter turnout (Voting Age Population) 69.1%

By county

County Kerry % Kerry # Bush % Bush # Others % Others #
Cheshire 59.1% 24,438 39.8% 16,463 1.1% 446
Grafton 55.7% 26,180 43.2% 20,277 1.1% 514
Strafford 55.6% 32,942 43.6% 25,825 0.9% 514
Sullivan 52.4% 11,434 46.5% 10,142 1.0% 228
Merrimack 52.2% 39,975 47.0% 36,060 0.8% 612
Coos 50.7% 8,585 48.1% 8,143 1.2% 197
Hillsborough 48.2% 94,121 51.0% 99,724 0.8% 1,582
Rockingham 47.5% 75,437 51.7% 82,069 0.8% 1,310
Carroll 47.2% 13,319 51.8% 14,614 1.0% 289
Belknap 43.6% 14,080 55.5% 17,920 0.9% 298

By congressional district

Bush and Kerry each won one congressional district. [13]

District Bush Kerry Representative
1st 51% 48% Jeb Bradley (R)
2nd 47% 52% Charles Bass (R)


Technically the voters of NH cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. NH is allocated 4 electors because it has 2 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 4 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 4 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for president and vice president. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them. An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.

The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 13, 2004, to cast their votes for president and vice president. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. All 4 were pledged for Kerry/Edwards: [14]

  1. Jeanne Shaheen
  2. Peter Burling
  3. Judy Reardon
  4. James Ryan


  1. ^ "2004 NH Democratic Tracking".
  2. ^ " Lieberman vows to keep running." CNN. 2004-01-28. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  3. ^ "2004 Primaries". CNN.
  4. ^ "2004 Primaries". CNN.
  5. ^ http://www.dcpoliticalreport.com/members/2004/Pred2.htm#NW[ permanent dead link]
  6. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/CAMPAIGN/2004/polls.php?fips=33
  7. ^ http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/campaigns/george_w_bush.asp?cycle=04
  8. ^ http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/campaigns/john_f_kerry.asp?cycle=04
  9. ^ "CNN.com Specials". CNN.
  10. ^ "CNN.com Specials". CNN.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2009-06-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)
  12. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Presidential_04/nh_polls.html
  13. ^ http://www.swingstateproject.com/diary/4161/
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-10-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)

See also