Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton has won the New Hampshire primaries, while John McCain won on the Republican side.
This sudden victory breathed new life into Clinton's campaign after she was defeated by Barack Obama in Iowa. CNN reports that while Clinton won 39% of votes, Obama secured 37%, making it a pretty close race. 97% of all votes have been counted so far. The results contrasted sharply to the CNN pre-primary poll, in which Obama had a clear 9-point lead over Clinton.
A particular turning point might have been when Clinton broke down after facing possible defeat again. This clearly ruffled up some emotions, particularly among the female democrats who voted for her, unlike what happened in Iowa (where most women voted for Obama). Read the CNN Blog for more.
"Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice," Clinton said to a crowd of young supporters.
Clinton seems to have enjoyed the benefit of a large number of Independent voters who are of an older age, as it was this age-group that voted for her the most, according to a CNN Exit Poll.
Among Republicans, Romney (32%), who won the Wyoming caucuses, conceded defeat at the hands of McCain (37%), for whom this win is crucial to keep his campaign alive. A CNN Exit Poll showed that most voters felt economy, Iraq, health care and terrorism were some key issues that they wanted resolved.
It would be worthwhile mentioning that Independents in NH, who make up an astonishing 40% of voters, can vote for either parties, unlike in Iowa.
John Edwards, who beat Clinton to come second in Iowa, came up a dismal third, far behind Clinton and Obama.
The next stop for the candidates will be Nevada and then South Carolina. This will lead to Feb. 5 - "Super Tuesday" - when over two dozen states would hold their primaries.
What's the difference between a primary and a caucus?
In a caucus, you have to assemble in a room, debate, discuss, bribe and eventually come out with a result. It can be a tediously long process. However, in a primary, a registered voter simply comes, votes and leaves. The candidate who controls a majority wins. It's much simpler and usually many more people participate in a primary than in a caucus.
OTFS with Inputs from CNN