First-Time Voters Stir Revolution in Both Parties

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Audience members cheer during a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) at a campaign rally at Great Bay Community College on Feb. 7, 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
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New Hampshirites went to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the nation's first presidential primary of the 2016 election. GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders claimed victory, something that will likely give each campaign a boost of momentum and a potential windfall in political donations. 

Trump secured about 35 percent of the vote, and in a surprise twist, Ohio Governor John Kasich came in second, with 15.9 percent of the vote. Sanders beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by more than 20 percent. 

New Hampshire's political makeup is unique. About 43 percent of voters are undeclared, meaning they are not registered as Republicans or Democrats. Those voters are, however, eligible to vote in the primary race.

As the results show, outsider candidates are claiming most of the attention this election cycle, something that can be attributed to younger and first-time voters. The trend has pushed some candidates to pay a great deal of attention to community colleges across the Granite State. At New Hampshire Technical Institute, Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich spoke to first-time voters—a key constituency for Senator Bernie Sanders—about what's driving them to the polls. 

As Democratic first-time voters rally in large numbers behind Sanders—84 percent and 83 percent of voters ages 17-29 supported Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively—the battle to get new people to the polls is perhaps even more important on the Republican side, which has been historically hurt by high voter turnout.

There are some signs that the populist rhetoric of this election cycle has touched new GOP voters. In the Iowa caucuses, a record number of young Republican voters (22,000) showed up to the polls. And according to entrance polls, 45 percent of total Republican voters in the state were participating for the first-time.

Alex Smith, national chairwoman of the College Republican National Committee, joins The Takeaway to discuss how the Republican party is hoping to rally new and young voters this election cycle, and to change the perception of the party among new voters.

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • What the results of the New Hampshire primary are.
  • How Democrats and Republicans are trying to reach first-time voters.
  • What to expect next in the 2016 election.