"Shields and Brooks on New Hampshire’s primary influence" PBS NewsHour 2/9/2016
SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to preview the New Hampshire primary with a look at how voter tastes have shifted since past elections, the influencing power of the Granite State, the popularity of Donald Trump and whether there will be more or less clarity about the presidential race at the end of the first primary.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who joins us from Manchester.
So, David, we were just hearing in that report from Hari how different the voters of New Hampshire are from the rest of the country.
When you look at Iowa and you put it together with New Hampshire, you are looking at a different group of the electorate. So, what are you looking for these voters to clarify tonight?
DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Yah. Obviously, they’re polarized. They’re whiter, but then they’re also more polarized.
What’s interesting to me is, this electorate, according to the exit polls, are more polarized than they were in ’08. The Democrats are much more liberal, significantly more liberal than they were in ’08. The Republicans are significantly more who say they extremely conservative than in ’12 and ’08.
So, this is an electorate, like a lot of people around the country, who have polarized. I’m also struck by how many late-deciders there are. If it’s half late-deciders, that means all that we have been talking about in the polls, I would be very surprised if we weren’t very surprised by what happens in the next few hours.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark, what about that, the late-deciders, and also the difference? Well, and let me ask you first about the late-deciders. What does that tell you?
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: The late-deciders tell me that it’s typical New Hampshire, where you get — in the last 72 hours, 48 hours, you get up to half of the voters deciding.
And one measurement I saw reported is that two-thirds of the voters said that the debates, which were last Thursday for the Democrats, last Saturday for the Republicans, influenced their decision in that late decision.
So, I think that will be a major part of the postmortem of the results tonight.