Neil Cavuto and Jim Hoft suggested that President Obama receiving 82 percent of the votes in the New Hampshire Democratic primary show Obama is struggling among Democrats and that New Hampshire voters "are sending a message that we don't like you." But all recent incumbent presidents who went on to win re-election received similar percentages of the votes in their New Hampshire primaries, and political expert Larry Sabato called the results "about normal."
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Cavuto, Hoft Suggest Obama Primary Result Is A "Message" That Voters "Don't Like You"
Cavuto: Obama "Is Not Running Away With This." During Fox Business' coverage of the January 10 New Hampshire primaries, host Neil Cavuto claimed that President Obama was "not running away" with the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote and that the results at that point were "rather telling." Guest and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain called Cavuto's claim "the big story" of the New Hampshire primary. Cavuto also claimed that President Clinton "got 96 percent of the Democratic vote" when "he ran up for re-election in 1996." From Fox Business' January 10 election coverage:
CAVUTO: We do want to let you know, if you'll indulge me, I do want to get your reaction to this. There is a primary going on the Democrat side, too. It doesn't get much attention. The president is officially unchallenged, but he is competing with eight other individuals in the state of New Hampshire. And this is rather telling -- it's still very early, but Gary, can we take a peek at this? I don't want to make an overly big deal of this, but there is a large number of write-in votes going on right now on in the Democratic primary for [candidates] other than Barack Obama. In fact, he is, that is the president, is scoring about three-quarters of the vote among Democrats, but he is not running away with this. Whereas Bill Clinton, when he ran up for re-election in 1996, got 96 percent of the Democratic vote.
Right now, Barack Obama is comfortably winning, but he had about 72 percent of the vote at last juncture, so you're just going to have to take me at my word here. I do have this here. That means 28 percent of Democrats voting in New Hampshire have voted for someone other than the president. Now, Herman, in and of itself, that's not revolutionary, but half of those 28 percent were write-in votes. Very early in the evening -- roughly 10 percent of the vote there, too. What do you make of that?
CAIN: Neil, with all due respect, that's the big story.
CAVUTO: That's why I said it.
CAIN: The big story is -- exactly, that's why you're as good as you are. That is the big story, and that is, people are assuming that President Barack Obama wasn't going to be challenged, but even in New Hampshire, you've got write-in votes. And like you said, he didn't get the 96 percent that Bill Clinton got -- he's down to 72 percent. That means there is a very large amount of disillusioned Democrats that are not happy with President Barack Obama's track record in terms of his results. I think that that is the big story.
Cavuto later called the results "semi-dramatic" and stated that "normally when presidents run unopposed for re-election ... they get almost 100 percent of the vote." He then stated:
CAVUTO: Barack Obama, unchallenged in that state, still fighting off pesky write-ins and a host of others who a lot of New Hampshire Democrats have said, well, we prefer these alternatives. Not bad for Barack Obama, but keep in mind that close to one out of five Democratic voters in this state of New Hampshire are sending a message that we don't like you. We can tell you that much, we don't flip over you. [Fox News, Election 2012: New Hampshire Primary With Neil Cavuto, 1/10/12]
Hoft: "Ruh-Roh... Obama Gets Only 82% Of Democrat Vote In New Hampshire -- Running Unopposed." In a January 10 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft wrote: "Rough night for Barack...With 83% of votes counted, only 82% of Democrat voters chose Obama in New Hampshire even though he was running unopposed. 10% of Democrats wrote in someone else. The total of all write-in votes was the second-most popular choice on the ballot." [Gateway Pundit, 1/10/12]
But Recent Incumbent Presidents Who Went On To Win Re-Election Achieved Similar NH Primary Results
Political Expert Sabato: Obama's Primary Results Are "About Normal." On January 10, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, noted via Twitter that Obama's New Hampshire primary results were "[a]bout normal." From Sabato's Twitter feed:
Reagan Received 86 Percent Of The Republican Primary Vote In 1984. According to New Hampshire State Department records, President Reagan won 86 percent of the vote in the state's Republican primary in 1984. From the New Hampshire Department of State:
[New Hampshire Department of State, State of New Hampshire Manual for the General Court No. 49, 1985, accessed via The University Of New Hampshire]
Clinton Received 84 Percent Of The Democratic Primary Vote In 1996. Contrary to Cavuto's claim that Clinton "got 96 percent of the Democratic vote" in the 1996 New Hampshire primary, according to New Hampshire State Department records, Clinton won 84 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary in 1996. From the New Hampshire Department of State:
[New Hampshire Department of State, State of New Hampshire Manual for the General Court No. 55, 1997, accessed via The University Of New Hampshire]
George W. Bush Received 80 Percent Of The Republican Primary Vote In 2004. According to New Hampshire State Department records, President Bush won 80 percent of the vote in the state's Republican primary in 2004. From the New Hampshire Department of State:
[New Hampshire Department of State, State of New Hampshire Manual for the General Court No. 59, 2005, accessed via The University Of New Hampshire]