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New Hampshire not keen on populism?

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Doug Krizner: Tomorrow, voters in New Hampshire get their say in the presidential race. But as Jeremy Hobson reports, candidates pushing economic populism might find it a difficult sell.

Jeremy Hobson: Listen to these campaign pitches from some of the leading contenders for the presidency. Here’s Democrat John Edwards:

John Edwards: When we speak up against corporate greed, and for the 37 million Americans who live in poverty . . .

And here’s Republican Mike Huckabee:

Mike Huckabee: I connected with people on that level, talked about the importance of the middle class, being more inclusive about small business where 80 percent of our jobs come from . . .

Well, that message may have helped each candidate to some degree in Iowa, but New Hampshire has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country. It has one of the highest median incomes, and it’s among the lowest in terms of uninsured citizens.

Ross Gittell is an economist at the University of New Hampshire:

Ross Gittell: It’s a relatively strong economic state, and some of the economic concerns and fears are not as pronounced here in New Hampshire as they are in other states.

Republican voter Suzanne Spencer of Plainfield says she does care about the little guy, but an economic populist might lose her support because of other issues.

Suzanne Spencer: Well, anyone’s social platform is very important to me. I mean, I am pro-choice. But I’d have to see.

For Democrat Lori Santora of Bath, economic populism resonates. But she says foreign policy is just as important.

Lori Santora: I think the war in Iraq probably has skewed that, because we all have to be thinking foreign policy.

Candidates hoping to cash in on economic distress may have an easier time in states like Michigan and South Carolina. But they’ll have to get through the New Hampshire primary first.

I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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