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New Hamshire in Obama column

The state that gave Democrat Barack Obama his first primary setback supported him when it counted Tuesday.

The Illinois senator defeated Republican John McCain to claim New Hampshire’s four electoral votes.

The call was based on an analysis of voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International and early vote returns.

Though Obama had held a solid lead in polls heading into Election Day, he had cautioned his supporters not to get cocky given that he lost the primary back in January under similar circumstances.

But this time, his organizational advantage and the Democratic Party’s growing strength in New Hampshire pushed him to victory.

“I think he’ll do a great deal to restore our reputation in the world,” said Democrat Alasdair Drysdale, 58, a professor from Portsmouth. “He’s got the best temperament, the right temperament. I like his energy, his intellect and his fundamental decency.”

For McCain, it was his first loss in a state that twice had launched him toward the GOP nomination. He had been hoping that Tuesday would be a replay of this year’s primary: an upset victory for him and a painful and unexpected defeat for Obama.