Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Clifford Brown




elections, demographics, politics, government, New Hampshire


This thesis investigates the origin of wave elections in New Hampshire in 2006, 2010 and 2012. It finds that recent demographic shifts in the state laid the groundwork for these dramatic electoral results. This paper also examines the nationalization and polarization that have redefined New Hampshire’s political landscape and contributed to massive partisan shifts in state government. The combination of demographic changes and a polarized political culture have created an electoral environment for both Republicans and Democrats that favors turnout, increasing the importance of agenda setting and narrative control in order to produce high turnout among core constituencies. Chapter 1 discusses the important demographic trends of the past several decades that have pushed New Hampshire leftward politically. Chapters 2 through 5 discuss the 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections respectively, with special attention paid to the importance of narrative control and turnout in determining the results of each contest. Finally, the conclusion will tie the recent wave elections in New Hampshire to the national political environment and the general direction of American politics.