There's nothing like interacting with actual voters to shake up your perceptions of a political race. And after spending several days doing that in the Granite State, there are three lessons I learned that will inform the way I view the race in the coming months.
There are more undecided voters than you think – It's long been a cliche that New Hampshire voters take a long time to settle on a candidate, but even knowing this, I was surprised how few voters I spoke with had made up their minds. It felt like fewer than in any previous primary I've covered there at this point in the race had come to a decision. Given the size of the field, voters are further from narrowing down their choices than is typical.
They like to be able to see all the candidates in person, often multiple times, before coming to a decision. But with so many candidates this year, it's taking people more time to see all the candidates who have caught their eyes. Of course, some candidates enjoy greater support and have an organizational edge right now, but taking the polls too seriously right now would be like calling a 1.5 mile horse race after the first turn. After my visit, I'll be much less likely to mentally write off candidates, even those in the mid to low single digits.