A New York Times graphic from last week has some people once again asserting a myth about New Hampshire politics.
The Times showed that a quarter of Granite Staters were born in Massachusetts. Predictably, commenters claimed that this shows how New Hampshire turned more left-leaning. The opposite is true.
As we have pointed out before, voting outcomes and party registrations show unmistakably that immigrants from Massachusetts consistently vote against big government. By and large, these people are tax refugees. They settle predominantly in border towns, where they tend to vote for Republicans and against tax hikes. If New Hampshire had more of them, it would be less purple and more red today.
The Times’ graphic showed the percentage of Granite Staters born outside of New Hampshire rising steadily from the 1960s through 1990, then rising more slowly in the decades since. In 1900, 60 percent of Granite Staters were native-born. In 1960, it was 62 percent. By 1980 it was 49 percent. Today it is 42 percent. This is a sign of success, not failure. By contrast, Massachusetts’ population was 55 percent native-born in 1900 and is 63 percent native-born today. As New Hampshire has attracted new residents, Massachusetts has driven its own residents away. Its main in-migration comes from other high-tax Northeastern states. New Hampshire’s problem is not that so many Bay Staters have moved here. It is that the flow has slowed in the past quarter century, which indicates that our state is less competitive than it used to be.