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Campaign '96 : New Hampshire Primary Preview

February 20, 1996

The political drama played out in today's New Hampshire primary contains clear plot lines for the top Republican presidential contenders. Bob Dole, who did poorly here in the past, needs a win to reassert his front-runner status. Patrick J. Buchanan wants to show his mix of cultural conservatism and economic populism resonates in a state where the religious right is not a major element. Lamar Alexander hopes his message that he is more electable than Dole and less polarizing than Buchanan will push him past at least one of them. And by his own reckoning, Steve Forbes must finish third or better to keep on track. One imponderable: Primary rules make it easy for independents to participate.

The people

Population

Total: 1,143,963

White: 97%

Black: 1%

Latino: 1%

Other: 1%

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The politics

1992 General Election

Clinton: 39%

Bush: 38%

Perot: 23%

Elected officials

Gov. Steve Merrill (R)

Sen. Robert C. Smith (R)

Sen. Judd Gregg (R)

House delegation: 2 Republicans, 0 Democrats

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Median family income

N.H.: $39,287

U.S.: $34,761

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Unemployment

N.H.: 4.0%

U.S.: 5.5%

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Crime

Violent crimes per 100,000 population

N.H.: 117

U.S.: 716

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DELEGATES SO FAR

Alexander: 5

Buchanan: 19

Dole: 12

Forbes: 3

Others: 11

Needed to Nominate: 996

At Stake Today: 16

Source: U . S . census, Claritas Inc., various media sources

Researched by ROB CIOE and MALOY MOORE / Los Angeles Times

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