Republicans Marlo Devire and Christy Carlson, who voted for Trump in 2020, highlighted the line as something that resonated with them.
“I agree to some extent that after this [Trump] there’s a little bit, a little bit — he called it ‘chaos,’ and frankly, I don’t agree with that,” Devir said.
“It doesn’t call into question the policies and procedures that he was able to put in place,” Carlson said. He talked about chaos, and that was cool because if people out there start thinking about it that way, it’s going to change some of that thinking.
There are voters who absolutely adore Haley. Carrol Horrocks, who NBC News spoke to in Bedford in September, is a retired school assistant superintendent. He called Haley “brave” and “persuasive.”
“He has such a deep understanding of all the issues we have, both domestically and internationally,” Horrocks said. “He has logical ideas about how to solve these things. He is skinny. He got my vote.”
But others talk more about Trump when it comes to their motivations. Gary Misiaszek, who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, does not plan to support him this time. “If he gets the Republican nomination, I’m afraid the Democrats will win,” Misiaszek said this month.
A strategy for choosing your vote
The New Hampshire stereotype is that voters take their responsibilities seriously — and many, especially those who don’t like Trump, have actually spent nearly a year thinking about how best to use their power strategically.
Julia Matte, 21, an undeclared voter, believes it is “critical” to vote with “intention” in every election.
“Voting for a moderate candidate like Nikki Haley in the primary is not my intended vote for president in the general election, but simply voting for her as the Republican nominee to reduce Trump’s runaway lead,” Matte said. “A group of like-minded voters who vote with intent, supporting a less popular candidate, can have the power to change the course of the rest of the race.”
Nathan Seal, another undeclared voter, said he plans to vote for Haley on Tuesday because “the Democratic Party is not running a worthwhile primary and I believe she has the best chance to defeat Trump.”
Hella Ross was among the thousands of voters who changed their Democratic voter registration to participate in the GOP primary. “The whole point was to stop Trump and make sure he wasn’t the nominee,” Ross said.
Ross and her friend, Thalia Floras, changed their registration from Democratic to undeclared and plan to vote for Haley.
“If you had told me a year ago that I would be thinking about Nikki Haley, I would have told you you were crazy,” Floras said.
Aside from Trump, Christie may command the most loyalty among his supporters
Christie, who left the race 13 days before the primary, has spent most of his time in New Hampshire and has not set foot in Iowa this election cycle.
And his anti-Trump campaign has earned him a small but loyal following, with at least one voter still planning to support him even though he’s out of the race.
Gary Goudreau, a staunch Christie supporter, plans to vote for Haley after deciding he can’t support her. Christie criticized Haley for saying she would pardon Trump if he is convicted of some of the charges he faces later this year.
“I cannot vote for Trump or anyone who supports or pardons him,” Goodreau said.
Some of Christie’s voters will move to Haley. On the night of Christie’s test, Tony Pappas said he felt “confused and sad” and had “no idea what to do next in terms of which candidate to support.”
He now plans to endorse Haley, saying he respects Gov. Chris Sunu’s endorsement.
Even when DeSantis did better, he never quite got it
Here are some of the earliest warning signs for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis withdrew from the presidential race It came two days before the New Hampshire primary, as he tried to pass as a staunch conservative in a moderate state.
It was Haley’s first state in the polls, and her record on abortion and other policy issues in Florida drew questions from voters in a state where GOP voters are more moderate than in Iowa. Ultimately, DeSantis’ campaign shifted money and resources to Iowa to seek momentum there. His campaign has never run a TV ad in New Hampshire, according to AdImpact.
And the single-digit support he left in the polls when he left the election showed the pressure he faced: Trump supporters stuck with the former president, while those looking for a new direction moved to Haley.
Several DeSantis loyalists plan to vote for him even though he has suspended his campaign.
Before DeSantis dropped out, Calup Veneman, 45, said DeSantis was his top choice because “he’s done a lot in Florida and I think he’s going to do it for America.”
Veneman still plans to vote for DeSantis in the primary. “I will vote for President Trump in the general election as long as he doesn’t pick Haley for the vice presidency,” he said.
Biden has a restless base to appease before November
On the Democratic side, the big story this primary cycle has been the Democratic National Committee’s efforts to replace the primary in New Hampshire with a contest in South Carolina, even though New Hampshire state law requires the state to go first.
Because of those efforts, New Hampshire is moving forward with a no contest — and Biden won’t be on the ballot. New Hampshire voters who want to vote for him must write in his name.
Even people who actively campaigned to write in Biden are unhappy with his and the DNC’s decision.
“My knee-jerk reaction? Well, screw them.”
But, he added, “we’re going to do it in New Hampshire because New Hampshire supports Biden. If we can’t do it regularly, then we’re going to do it so we can still win New Hampshire.”
Walter King, 73, chooses to write in Biden because of his “record of achievement.” However, he said it was “very disappointing” that Biden was not on the ballot.
It’s the start of a year in which Democrats and left-leaning voters across the country must decide whether to come home to Biden in the general election, despite varying degrees of unhappiness in various policy areas and in office.
And the primary issue in New Hampshire is a parochial issue layered on top of that. Many voters of both parties are frustrated and angry at the challenge to the state’s coveted first-class status.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., was on the ballot opposing Biden. and Marianne Williamson, tended to criticize the original change, including blasting the DNC over a letter she called the original “nonsensical.”
In a debate with Williamson, Phillips said, “I hope it goes on display in the National Archives because I think it’s one of the most egregious affronts to democracy that I’ve ever committed as an American in my entire life.”
Williamson said there was a “crush of candidates here”.