I made my own journey to a polling location in Nashua this morning, a virtual suburb of Boston and the site of a heated Republican contest between Mitt Romney and John McCain. Both candidates visited Ward 1 at an elementary school at separate times, and their supporters blanketed them in droves, not to mention the ever-present press pool. Judging by the turnout, McCain has the upper hand, and Ron Paul once again turned out his own legion of compatriots.
The atmosphere here in New Hampshire is nothing less than a political three-ring circus. "Flip Romney," and man dressed as a dolphin to characterize his likeness' alleged flip-flops on a number of issues was on hand, as was a busload of students administering exit polls to voters, along with a cohort of former POW's for McCain. A lone bulldog even showed up to support his man Mitt.
Inside the polling location, voters entered to declare a party if they had not already done so, then received the appropriate ballot and entered a private booth to make their voice heard. New Hampshire is famous for its plurality of independents, and voters who declare a party upon entrance may switch back to independent status upon leaving.
According to the secretary of state, record turnout is expected today, at least 1/2 million strong, nearly half of the state's population, eclipsing the 396,000 voters who came out in 1992. By comparison, this is nearly 200,000 voters more than caucused in Iowa last Thursday in a state less than half its size.
I plan to return to the polls this afternoon, reporting this time from Manchester. I'll record a podcast there, then head back to Nashua for more candidate rallies before returning to Manchester to attend a couple more. Once again, tune in to WGN AM 720 in Chicago this evening at 6:11pm to listen to my live report in New Hampshire on the Steve Cochran Show.