The issue that will matter most in N.H. primary

The GOP presidential candidates will hit the ground running in New Hampshire.

But they face a very different challenge connecting with voters there than they did in Iowa.

The upcoming primary and the caucuses aren't just apples and oranges -- they are granite cliffs and corn fields, they're that different, CBS News correspondent Karen Brown remarked.

A key example is about half of the voters in Iowa Tuesday night said they were very conservative. In the last election, only 20 percent of people polled in New Hampshire described themselves that way.

For Republicans in New Hampshire, it's more about being a fiscal conservative, with small business owners leading that charge.

Fritz Koeppel is one of those small business owners. With business down 10 percent at his historic Wentworth Hotel in Jackson, New Hampshire, he's trying to make sure his place doesn't become history.

Koeppel is a moderate Republican and shares one thing with his conservative counterparts in Iowa. He said, "This election is all about the economy."

But University of New Hampshire pollster Andy Smith recognizes the differences between the two states. He said, "Iowa Republicans, for example, are dominated by evangelical churches, home-school organizations. New Hampshire, according to one study by Gallup, is the second least-religious state in the country."

So the kind of talk that played in Iowa, such as Romney saying in Sioux City, Iowa, "This is a great country and I trust in God," may not play in New Hampshire.

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New Hampshire has a low, 5.2 percent unemployment rate. Small businesses are keeping people employed.

But small business owner Koppel said he is frustrated, joking that he's nearly ripped all the hair off his head.

Pollster Smith said small businesses dominate the New Hampshire economy -- an important sector in this election.

Iowa, in contrast, leans toward agro-business and large companies, but a smaller pool of voters than New Hampshire. The caucuses in Iowa are Republicans only.

In New Hampshire, independents like Concord deli owner Peter Sylvestro also participates. He's a swing voter who has seen firsthand consumer confidence drop to its lowest level in two years.

When asked why business is down 20 percent, Sylvestro said, "(People) are bringing their own lunch. They are cutting back when they do come in -- they are getting a half a sandwich instead of a whole sandwich."

In the last election, Sylvestro made headlines when he met President Obama.

But today, the photo taken of Sylvestro and Mr. Obama isn't posted in his establishment anymore.

Sylvestro remarked, "Hope and change hasn't translated into anything for my business and, I'm sure, for a lot of other small businesses."

Brown asked, "Why is it the government's responsibility to fix it for you?"

"It is not their responsibility to fix my business, but it is the government's responsibility to set a mood that it's OK to go out and spend money again," Sylvestro said.

Four-in-ten New Hampshire independents consistently vote Democratic. But like Sylvestro, a growing number are switching allegiances.

"For the first time in my life I'm going to vote Republican," Sylvestro said.

When asked if he feels like a turncoat, Sylvestro replied, "Not at all. I feel like a patriot. Maybe it will wake up some people in Washington."

And unlike in the Iowa caucuses -- where six percent of eligible voters turned out -- in New Hampshire, the candidates have a lot more voters to convince.

"We often have turnout higher than some states have in their general election for president," Smith said. "We are actually seeing Republican interest is higher this year than it was in 2008."

Koeppel said, "I do think the Republicans have a good chance to get back in the White House."

And that has also lit a political fire in Koeppel as he considers whose leadership could give the economy a spark.

Asked if his concern for his business and his country has him more interested in politics, Koeppel said, "Exactly. Glued to the TV."

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