The nation’s economic issues are a top priority of Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, according to the early results from the NBC News Exit Poll. One in three (32 percent) pointed to the economy and jobs as the most important issue facing the country, and 27 percent cited government spending. Another 23 percent named terrorism as the top issue, but just 15 percent chose immigration as their No. 1 concern. Iowa Republican caucus-goers had similar opinions last week.
When it came to candidate qualities, Republicans in New Hampshire differed from Iowa Republicans. About a third (35 percent) of Granite State Republicans said they were looking for a candidate who shares their values when deciding whom to support. Another 28 percent wanted a candidate who can bring about change, and 24 percent were looking for a candidate who “tells it like it is.” Just 12 percent placed priority on a candidate’s electability.
These results were slightly different than the priorities of Iowa caucus-goers. Last week, more Republicans in Iowa (42 percent) wanted a candidate who shared their values, while “telling it like it is” was the least valued quality (14 percent). In Iowa, those who wanted someone who shared their values voted largely for Ted Cruz, helping him win the caucus.
In the end, more New Hampshire Republican voters (58 percent) said that a candidate’s positions on the issues were more important in their vote choice than leadership skills and personal qualities (40 percent).