Iowa's Caucus Results Get N.H. Voters' Attention

Now that the presidential candidates are talking to New Hampshire voters, don't expect many references back to corn and Hawkeyes. Voters in the Granite State often insist that they make up their own minds and don't care about what happened 1,200 miles to the west. But Thursday night's stunning caucus results have gotten New Hampshire's attention.

If candidates get confused about what state they are waking up in, here's an easy guide. In Iowa, breakfast is eggs and some part of a pig. In New Hampshire, it's "cranberry almond caramel pancakes," says Cyndi Cobb, who is competing in a national pancake flip-off in Durham, N.H.

The candidates were all invited to the competition, but none had stopped by to show off their flip-flopping skills. That's okay — Cobb explains that here in New Hampshire, they like their pancakes fancy and their candidates plain.

"Straight talkers — you need to tell it like it is. Don't try to mince words. Be straight," she says.

Cobb is a John Edwards fan, but like everyone in the restaurant, she wants to talk about Hillary Clinton's third-place finish.

"I was shocked. I expected her to finish first," she says.

One of the surprises from the Iowa caucuses was that more younger women voted for Barack Obama, and older women tended to vote for Clinton. But Cobb says she thinks Clinton is still a strong candidate in New Hampshire.

The only Clinton supporter in the restaurant is, perhaps surprisingly, the youngest person here — 22-year-old Kayla McCarthy. She's having her pancakes with a side of sour grapes.

"I don't even think caucuses are legitimate. ... I find they're a joke," she says.

Among voters here, variations on this theme are prevalent: We don't care what Iowa says; we make up our own minds. But after a little probing, it's apparent that the results of the Iowa caucuses do cause some mental shifts.

Mason Cobb is 57 years old and an independent. He was impressed by Obama's victory speech Thursday night, and the win has made him re-examine the senator's chances.

"I will think of him as a more viable candidate now, because he can win," Mike Cobb says.

Although they may deny it, some New Hampshire voters have been keeping close tabs on the whole Iowa campaign. Michelle Croich is attending the pancake contest from Rye, N.H. She's a republican and feels like Mitt Romney acted differently in Iowa than he does when he's in New Hampshire.

"A lot of the people don't like some of the comments he's been making, you know, brushing off questions, not really answering them thoroughly. He's the politician's politician, and I don't necessarily follow along with that," Croich says.

She plans to vote for Rudolph Giuliani. Yes, she knows he came in sixth place in Iowa, and no, she doesn't care.

Coming in first place, by the way, in the bedandbreakfast.com pancake competition is a long-shot, dark-horse entry: a lemon-blueberry ricotta-cheese pancake with a sweet lemon sauce, garnished with fresh strawberries.

And Joanne Nichols of Rye, N.H., denies that Iowa breakfast choices had any influence on her pancake.

"What I decide is independent of anyone else's decision," she says. That's the New Hampshire spirit.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.