Although traditionally a Republican state, 1996 would mark the second presidential election in a row that New Hampshire was won by DemocratBill Clinton, by then the incumbent president. Clinton took 49.32% of the popular vote over Republican challenger Bob Dole, who took 39.37%, a victory margin of 9.95%. Reform Party candidate Ross Perot finished in third, with 9.69% of the popular vote.
Clinton's nearly 10-point victory in New Hampshire was much more convincing than his previous win in the state in 1992; that year he had only eked out a narrow plurality of 39% over George H.W. Bush's 38%, with Ross Perot taking nearly 23% of the vote. For a state that had voted over 60% Republican as recently as 1988, Clinton's victories represented a dramatic shift toward the Democratic Party in New Hampshire. Since then the state has voted Democratic in every presidential election, except in 2000, when George W. Bush eked out a narrow plurality win over Al Gore.