Ice fishing with New Hampshire voters: "I'm struggling with the presidential race this year"

Ice fishing with New Hampshire voters
Ice fishing with New Hampshire voters 05:43

Last Updated Feb 11, 2020 1:57 PM EST

With just 28% of New Hampshire voters registered as Democrats, 29% registered as Republicans and 42% undeclared, the state could emerge as a key battleground in November. President Donald Trump lost New Hampshire by the slimmest margin of any state in 2016. 

Out on Turtletown Pond in Concord, "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil found two voters with opposing views who were "breaking the ice" with a friendly activity: ice fishing.

"I'm struggling with the presidential race this year," said Tim Moore, who said he is "sort of" a Democrat. Moore's fishing partner, Dennis Whitcher, leans more Republican.

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CBS News

"The division in this country is probably the biggest issue that I have right now. It's just heartbreaking," Moore said.

Health care is also top issue for Moore.

"I'm self-employed, so it's expensive. It's very expensive," he said. But, he questioned how the country would pay for Medicare for All plans proposed by candidates like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Another major issue for him is the climate, he said, as the three sat on the ice on an unseasonably warm day.

"Not just climate change," he said. "I mean the Trump administration is rolling back protections on our water at a staggering rate."

Whitcher, however, said he doesn't believe in climate change.

"It's a joke. You gotta be kidding me," he said.

As Moore considers which Democrat might be able to help him, Whitcher has his own mixed feelings about Mr. Trump.

Asked what he thinks of the president's character, he said, "That's a tough call."

"I think on a personal level, he has a good character," he said. "But his public appearance — it's pretty crude."

"Do you think he's always honest?" Dokoupil asked.

"I think he's an honest person, but he sure does tell a lot of lies," Whitcher said.

For now, Whitcher is willing to look past that because the economy is "unbelievable," he said.

"I think his trade policies, you know, the tariffs, dealing with China has helped a lot, and he's managed to keep the farmers happy," he said.

Hitting the ice with New Hampshire voters 01:41

At a bar in Manchester, others agree with Whitcher.

Asked what his favorite thing that Mr. Trump has gotten done, one supporter said, "Everything."

Another said, "I look at my kids' college funds, they've thrived, along with our 401s."

But also at the bar, primary voters Deborah Tolz and Jessica Palmariello expressed strong opposition to the president.

"I really like Amy (Klobuchar)," Tolz said. "But I'm not sure if she can beat Trump or not."

Asked if an ability to beat Mr. Trump is a big qualification for her, she said "Oh, anybody but Trump."

"I have to agree with you on that one," Palmariello said.

Back on the pond, Whitcher and Moore are as divided as anyone, but only politically.

Asked what advice they have for the rest of the country to get along the way they are, Whitcher said, "Go fishing. Makes life pretty easy."