MANCHESTER, N.H.--Senator Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) had everything to lose in the New Hampshire primary. Although he already won, he didn't gain as much as he had hoped to.
With 90 per cent of the Democratic vote counted, Muskie led with 48 per cent, followed by Senator George McGovern (D-S.D.) with 37 per cent. Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, Senator Vance Hartke (D-Ind), Rep. Wilbur D. Mills (D-Ark.) and Edward T. Coll split the rest of the Democratic vote.
Delegate Selection Close
The balloting for New Hampshire's 20 delegates to the National Convention remains close. With 43 per cent of the vote reported, Muskie has 11 delegates to 9 for McGovern.
McGovern is the biggest winner in the primary. His 14 months of active campaigning and a remarkable organization effort were the main factors behind his strong showing.
His success was particularly evident in the Manchester voting. In 1968, Senator Eugene J. McCarthy got only 22 per cent of the vote here in a two-man race. Tuesday, McGovern received 5693 votes here, narrowly losing the Queen City to Muskie, who got 6204.
Muskie was clearly hurt by the constant sniping of the Manchester Union-Leader. The Union-Leader's news pages were filled with headlines like "Muskie's Tearful Tirade Revives History of Instability" and "Muskie's Lincolnesque Mask Cracked in N.H. Speech."
It is ironic that the right-wing Union-Leader's attacks against Muskie ended up by helping McGovern more than any other candidate. Union-Leader publisher William Loeb apparently did not take McGovern seriously enough to attack him, and this, combined with Loeb's support of Yorty, served to drain votes away from Muskie and to his several rivals.
Just as two candidates are claiming victory in the Democratic primary, two Republicans are claiming victory in their primary as well. The third candidate, Rep. John Ashbrook (R-Ohio) is not calling the New Hampshire result a defeat.
With 90 per cent of the votes tabulated, President Richard M. Nixon had 69 per cent. Rep. Paul N. McCloskey (R-Calif.) 20 per cent, Ashbrook 10 per cent, and comedian Pat Paulsen 1 per cent.
Nixon Showing Strong
While the 30 per cent of the vote cast against the President is significant, Nixon's showing clearly demonstrates his popularity among Republicans and the efforts of liberal McCloskey and conservative Ashbrook to overtake him seem futile. McGovern claimed Tuesday night he polled well in blue-collar areas such as Manchester, Keene (which he lost to Muskie by 20 votes out of 800) and Franklin (Muskie: 150, McGovern: 139). However, results in heavily working-class Berlin, which Muskie carried by more than 2.5 to 1, demonstrate that Muskie is still quite strong in blue-collar areas.
Muskie had hoped to come away from New Hampshire with an exceptionally strong showing to give his campaign a boost for the remaining 23 primaries. While he did not get this, he has probably not been significantly hurt by the New Hampshire results.
For McGovern, the results of this first primary mean that the press and major financial sources may begin to take his campaign more seriously. While his showing here probably will not win him many more votes in Florida, where he appears to have little support, it should help him in the coming primaries in Wisconsin and Massachusetts