Residents in (the northeastern U.S. state of) New Hampshire are voting in this year's crucial first primary election to select Republican and Democratic party candidates for U.S. president. Statewide public opinion surveys before the vote in New Hampshire indicated a slight preference among Republicans for Senator John McCain over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
The Arizona senator told supporters he would be the best candidate to face the challenge of radical Islam. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won last week's Iowa caucus, was running third in polls before the primary. Among the Democratic candidates, opinion polls indicated Illinois Senator Barack Obama had a significant lead over New York Senator Hillary Clinton and other candidates from the party. Large crowds cheered Obama at campaign appearances Monday, but he cautioned supporters not to be overconfident. Candidates are hoping to appeal to independent voters, who make up more than 40 percent of New Hampshire's electorate and are allowed to vote in either party's presidential primary.