Examining New Hampshire’s Political Leanings


This blog was originally posted at: http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2012/10/14/examining-political-leanings-in-nh/.

New Hampshire is one of the swing states in the upcoming presidential election.  Although it has just 4 electoral votes up for grabs, political analysts simply don’t know where those votes will go.  For Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – every vote counts in their bid for the presidency.  The state has not consistently voted for one party during presidential races though in recent years, they have voted more Democrat than Republican.  From 1972 to 1998 and in 2000, the state voted Republican.  In 1992, 1996, 2004, and 2008, the state voted Democrat.  In 2008, Obama won 54 percent to 45 percent over John McCain.

The map and data below tell the story of the demographic and political makeup of the New Hampshire voters prior to the election.  What will sway the voters in this state?  What do we know about them?  We’ll be sure to check back after Nov. 6 to see what the election results reveal.

General Population Statistics

Known as the “The Granite State,” New Hampshire has a population of just over 1.3 million people.  Its population is one of the least diverse states in the union (just 3 states are less diverse) with the large majority being white, non-Hispanic.  Esri, the world’s leader in geographic information systems (GIS), created a proprietary Diversity Index that measures diversity on a scale of 0 to 100. The Diversity Index is defined as the likelihood that two people, selected at random from the same area, would belong to a different race or ethnic group. The Diversity Index for New Hampshire is 16.7. This compares to a US Diversity Index of 61.  Not surprisingly, the percentage of both Hispanics and Blacks are significantly lower in the state than in the overall US population.  2.2 percent of adults in New Hampshire identify themselves as Hispanic and 1.0 percent of adults identify themselves as Black.

Here are some key demographic statistics about New Hampshire:

Demographic Variable

New Hampshire

US

2011 Median Age

41.2

37.2

2010 % Male / % Female

49.2%/50.8%

49.2%/50.8%

2010 Median Household Income

$62,922

$50,227

% Hispanic 18+ Population

2.2%

14.2%

% Black 18+ Population

1.0%

12.0%

2010 Median Home Value

$ 198,256

$157,913

Sources: Esri 2011/2016 Updated Demographics, US Census

Esri provides Market Potential data that includes a Market Potential Index (MPI). The Index measures the probability that adults or households in a specific area will exhibit certain consumer behaviors compared to the US average.  The Index is tabulated to represent a value of 100 as the overall demand for the US.  This Index shows that the residents of New Hampshire are more conservative overall than the average American but there is a portion of the population who considers themselves somewhat liberal.

Market Potential Variable

Index

Consider self very conservative

109

Consider self somewhat conservative

113

Consider self middle of the road

105

Consider self somewhat liberal

105

Consider self very liberal

98

Sources: Esri, GfK MRI

A resident of New Hampshire is 9 percent more likely than the average American to consider himself very conservative and 13 percent more likely to consider himself somewhat conservative.  A resident of New Hampshire is 5 percent more likely than the average American to consider himself somewhat liberal and 2 percent less likely than the average American to consider himself very liberal.

New Hampshire Politics Market Potential Index


View Larger Map

Where people live in New Hampshire does not seem to dramatically alter their political leanings.  Most of the ZIP codes have more people that lean conservative. There are a few ZIP codes that lean liberal but they are scattered around the state.

For Democrats, it is important to know that the ZIP code with the highest likelihood of very liberal voters is 03755 – located in Hanover in eastern New Hampshire.  The Index for someone who considers himself very liberal is 253 – meaning a resident there is 2.53 times more likely to consider himself more liberal than the average American.  For Republicans, the most conservative ZIP code in New Hampshire is 03243 – which is Hill, population 1099 in 2011, located in the middle of the state.  The Index for very conservative people there is 140, meaning a resident is 1.4 times more likely than the average American to consider himself very conservative.  One other ZIP code – 03575 – has a higher index for very conservative people, but that ZIP code has a population of just 12.

Tapestry Segmentation Classifies New Hampshire Neighborhoods

Esri also developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies US residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.  The top Tapestry segments for New Hampshire are:

Tapestry Segment

% Adults

Sophisticated Squires

13.9%

Green Acres

10.9%

Rural Resort Dwellers

7.5%

In Style

6.5%

Main Street USA

6.4%

The most dominant Tapestry segment in New Hampshire is Sophisticated Squires.  Residents of Sophisticated Squires neighborhoods enjoy cultured country life on the urban fringe. These city escapees accept longer commutes to live near fewer neighbors. Mostly married couple families; more than 40 percent of the households are married couples with children that range from toddlers to young adults. The median age is 39.7 years. More than one-third of the population aged 25 years or older holds a bachelor’s or graduate degree and they have a median household income of $83,079.

Map of New Hampshire by Tapestry Segment

Unemployment

One key factor in the upcoming election is unemployment. This is a key figure that US citizens have been watching carefully. It has a great impact on the economy as well as affecting many people personally.   The unemployment rate not only varies by state, but also by county.  When Barack Obama was sworn in as US President in January 2009, New Hampshire had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, which was much lower than the national number of 7.8 percent.  In August 2012 (the latest figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for individual states), that number had increased to 5.7 percent compared to 8.1 percent nationally.  In terms of employment, although its unemployment rate has increased, it is much lower than the US overall.  Of course, the rate for each county in New Hampshire varies based on its individual situation.

New Hampshire Unemployment Change – January 2009 – August 2012

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Most counties in New Hampshire have lower unemployment rates now than when Obama took over as president – but because they already had relatively low rates prior to the election, they didn’t change a lot.  Two counties have an increase.  One of these counties – Hillsborough – is the most populated county.  Therefore, although most counties had a decrease in unemployment, the increase in Hillsborough County caused the unemployment rate to increase overall in the state.  Its unemployment rate increased from 5.7 percent in January 2009 to 6 percent in August 2012.

The county with the biggest decrease in unemployment was Belknap County, in the middle of the state.  Its unemployment rate dropped 1.7 points from 6.8 percent to 5.1 percent from January 2009 and August 2012.

Why Does This Matter?

Understanding the types of people who live in New Hampshire can help Barack Obama and Mitt Romney target their campaigns and even messaging as they campaign around the state.  Knowing what the local issues are, what the demographic make-up of an area is, what the political leanings are of an area, where unemployment is high or low, where their likely constituents live, or knowing what types of activities they participate in can help them find their supporters – at a very local level.  It can help them choose where to have rallies, distribute fliers, or where to focus robo calls.  It can help them be in a better position to win an election.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at www.esri.com/data or to learn more about Esri in general, go to www.esri.com.

Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist, and location intelligence consultant.  You can visit her blog at www.pamallison.com.

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