Matt St. Hilaire, Concord, N.H. (Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services)
Students learn firsthand about the New Hampshire presidential primary in a class taught by Andy Smith,
pollster and associate professor of political science.
After the Thanksgiving holiday students mill about the hall before Andy Smith’s class on the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. They chat about—what else—politics! It’s been an eventful couple of days. On Saturday, November 27, the Union Leader endorsed Newt Gingrich. And, amid accusations of sexual misconduct, yet another candidate, Herman Cain is predicted to drop out of the race.
Matt St. Hilaire, a political science major from Concord, N.H., volunteers for Mitt Romney’s campaign. “Romney has a great organization in New Hampshire,” St. Hilaire says. “A lot of New Hampshire political people have committed to him so there are always plenty of people to work with. It’s a lot of fun.”
Standing next to him, Nick Mignanelli, a political science major from Campton, N.H., shrugs. “I’ve been working with some different campaigns and, lately, a lot with Herman Cain,” Mignanelli says. “He’s got some very determined campaign workers with a lot of passion and not many resources. But, Cain is thinking about dropping out. Actually, I’m hoping it won’t last much longer.”
Tyler McAfee, a political science major from Nashua, N.H., volunteers for Ron Paul’s campaign even though Paul isn’t the candidate he’d actually vote for in the election. “He’s unique in the world of Republican politics. That’s why I chose him.”
They begin to speculate:
“What about Gingrich as Romney’s vice president?”
“No way, that’s a ticket that would not win in New Hampshire.”
“Gingrich is the anti-Romney.”
Clearly, they enjoy discussing politics and having disagreements. This kind of casual discourse is perhaps one of the greatest legacies of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary.
Learning from experts
Every four years, when New Hampshire holds its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Smith offers his renowned primary class. This year, his first lecture on the history of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary was featured on C-Span as part of its American History TV series.
“This class is about politics,” Smith says. “This is where people get excited. And this primary is like all the others with its scandals and ups and downs. But each of these candidates has to develop a unique entrepreneurial style in order to stand out in the nomination process.” And yes, Smith adds, “candidates who win in New Hampshire receive a boost in the remaining contests.
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