Trump wins New Hampshire with help from Independents, late deciders

Independent voters propelled Donald Trump to victory Tuesday night in the New Hampshire Republican primary, according to exit polls.

The Fox News exit polls show the billionaire businessman got 36 percent of the Independent vote, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 17 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 13 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also with 13 percent, in the first-in-the nation primary.

Fox News projected Trump the winner shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. ET. The first-time candidate, who led in polls before Tuesday night’s voting, also benefitted from late-deciding voters.

He and Kasich each got 21 percent of the late-deciders, compared to 13 percent each for Bush and Rubio, the exit polls show.

Undeclared New Hampshire voters can vote in either party's primary. They made up roughly 44 percent of the electorate this year and were expected to be a late, deciding factor.

Trump led Rubio and the rest of the GOP field by double digits going into Tuesday.

His direct, get-tough campaign rhetoric has captured the interest of voters and potential voters since he vowed when declaring his candidacy this past summer to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out “drug dealers” and other criminals.

And the Fox exit polls reflect those “angry” with the federal government still favored Trump, a first-time candidate.

He got 37 percent of that vote, compared to 17 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 12 percent for Rubio and 9 percent for Bush, according to the polls.

Of the New Hampshire voters looking for their next president to have elected-office experience, most favored Kasich, also a former congressman. He got 25 percent of that vote, followed by Bush with 22 percent, Rubio with 19 percent and Cruz with 14 percent.

Kasich and Bush had campaigned strongly in New Hampshire and hoped to have a good showing Tuesday night to keep alive their respective White House bids.

Cruz won the Iowa Republican Caucus last week by appealing to evangelical Christian voters. However, just 23 percent of the New Hampshire electorate is evangelical, compared to 62 percent in Iowa, according to Fox polls.