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New Hampshire turning 'blue'

Most independents say they'll vote Democratic.

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Democratic trend: Clinton and Obama supporters are plentiful in New Hampshire.

Nicole Hill

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The Republican Party in New England's only "red state" may be going the way of the Old Man of the Mountain, the craggy icon of independence that crumbled a few years back in a rock slide.

In the last election, Democrats took both seats in Congress for the first time in nearly a century and both houses of the legislature for the first time since 1874. Democratic Gov. John Lynch won a second term with a record 74 percent of the vote, and lawmakers recently authorized same-sex civil unions and a smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

The "Live Free or Die" state is becoming "Blue Hampshire." The Granite State, said a blog for the conservative National Review, is "trending alarmingly Granola State."

The shift, driven by an influx of new residents, injects a new dynamic into the first-in-the-nation presidential primary here Tuesday. In 2000, some 62 percent of New Hampshire's independent voters – who can take part in either party's primary – cast a ballot in the GOP race, lifting Sen. John McCain to victory.

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