Estimate: 351,000 Granite Staters To Cast Primary Votes

By Jerry Miller | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Concord, NH ( - As many as 351,000 New Hampshire voters are expected to cast ballots in today's presidential primary. Polling officials around the state report that voting turnout is heavy under sunny skies but with freezing temperatures in the 20s and low 30s.

Secretary of State William Gardner said he expects191,000 voters in the Republican Primary with Texas Governor George W Bush, US Senator John McCain, publisher Steve Forbes, former ambassador Alan Keyes and former Reagan administration official Gary Bauer on the ballot. Polls indicate McCain will win by a slim margin over Bush.

In the Democratic contest, Gardner estimates 160,000 voters would cast ballots for either Vice President Al Gore or former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.

Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by a margin of 265,700 to 197,800. However Independent or "undecided" voters have become the state's largest voting bloc at nearly 280,000.

The picture is further complicated by the state's same-day registration option.

In the 1996 presidential contest, 44 percent of the state's registered voters voted in the primary with Republican turnout hitting 74 percent and the Democrats topping 44 percent.