James Pindell writes at The Boston Globe:
Unlike in many other states, New Hampshire voters who don’t register as Republican or Democrat can participate in either party’s primary. Republican officials are predicting that these “undeclared” voters — as many as 90,000 of the 250,000 Republican primary voters next year, according to one campaign’s count — will be inclined to pull a ballot for the GOP in the first-in-the-nation primary in large part because that contest is much more heated.
“There is no doubt that independent voters will decide this primary,” said Sarah Crawford Stewart, who ran former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s independent-focused 2012 Republican campaign here. “And now is the time when every campaign begins looking for the unicorn: the truly independent voters that you know are there, but you have no idea where to find them.”
A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll this week suggested that undeclared voters would make up 32 percent of the Republican primary electorate. Their preferences were largely the same as likely Republican voters as a whole.
New York businessman Donald Trump and Governor John Kasich of Ohio topped the list for undeclared voters with 19 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Senator Marco Rubio had the support of 12 percent of undeclared voters and Senator Ted Cruz received the support of 11 percent of the undeclared voters who were polled.
Indeed, undeclared voters could have the most impact in selecting among the more establishment-oriented candidates — like Bush, Kasich, Rubio, or Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. These candidates are investing time and money in identifying independent voters.