New Hampshire's Virtual Town Hall
Primary day 2012 is nothing like primary day 2008.
Long lines greeted Democrats, Republicans and independents four years ago. Voters were able to breeze through their polling stations today.
A crush of sign-holding supporters greeted voters four years ago. In some locations today, there wasn’t a single sign holder to be found.
Those are some of the impressions after touring voting locations in the Seacoast region earlier today in Durham, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, New Castle, North Hampton, various wards in Portsmouth, Seabrook and Stratham.
Just reading the sign language -- if you will -- was telling enough.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was well served in most (but not all) locations today. It’s a sign that he was the most organized among the Republican candidates here in the Granite State.
Second, in terms of sign holders, was former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. And third was Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Invisible, at least at these polls during our drive through, were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, and businessman Fred Karger.
It certainly shows a lack of organization. It could also show a lack of enthusiasm and some Republicans and independent voters as they continue to struggle whether to coalesce behind the presumptive nominee -- Romney.
But here, perhaps, is the most telling aspect of today’s primary.
Sign holders for President Barack Obama outnumbered everyone everywhere. For a candidate with no opposition in the first-in-the-nation primary he clearly had the most organization to get feet on the ground at polling stations.
As retired minister and Obama sign holder Ellsworth Comins of Hampton told me outside of the town’s Marston School: “It’s to show our opponents on the Republican side that we’re sticking with our man, we believe in him, and we’re not backing off.”
It’ll be surprising, quite frankly, if the GOP vote matches or exceeds the 250,000 ballots predicted by Secretary of State William Gardner.
There was energy in the air four years ago. There was a notable lack of same today.