At one New Hampshire diner, a deep divide on Trump


    At one New Hampshire diner, a deep divide on Trump


At one New Hampshire diner, a deep divide on Trump 02:53

Story highlights

  • Voters at Manchester's Airport Diner held deeply divided views on the Republican nominee
  • Donald Trump made lewd and sexually aggressive comments in 2005 that came to light last week

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN)Since the beginning of his candidacy Donald Trump has polarized voters and shocked pundits and politicians as he continued his rise to the top of the Republican Party.

His emergence at the GOP presidential nominee has fractured the party, and among voters, that split is stark as ever.
CNN visited the small battleground state of New Hampshire and found voters in much the same place as they were over a year ago.
    Two women sitting separately with family members in Manchester's Airport Diner on Columbus Day, held deeply divided views on the Republican nominee's recently surfaced lewd and sexually aggressive comments about women from 2005.
    "Honestly, I think we all talk that way, I don't think it's just a men's locker room," Beth Champagne, a 43-year-old Independent from Franklin, said of Trump's vulgar comments about groping women. "I think it was a little cruder, but I know many men that say several of the same things."
    "Him thinking that men can brag about sexually assaulting a woman is disgusting. It's not locker-room banter, it's a serious matter and that's scary because I have friends who have been sexually assaulted," Kristina McNamara, a 21-year-old Independent from Manchester told CNN.
    The polarization among voters was almost identical to a year earlier, when CNN visited the same diner to gauge reaction to Trump's comments about whether Sen. John McCain was a war hero.
    Those who support Trump told CNN his comments were not out of bounds for any normal non-politician. While those who did not support Trump, felt strongly that he had crossed the line.
    "Saying something negative about a veteran, if you don't take a hit, there's something wrong," independent New Hampshire voter Laura Rotolo told CNN in 2015.
    "I think there's going to be a lot of different things he says, a lot of the different politicians are saying things about each other. Just because he said this it's not going to change what I say, what I think about him at all," Kim Walters, a 36-year-old Republican from Goffstown, said of her support for Trump in 2015.
    Back in summer 2015 public polls showed Trump rising, leaving behind a crowd of Republican candidates.
    Now, less then a month before the election, his situation is more dire thanks to a turbulent few weeks that have left Trump on defense.
    Champagne, who is almost certain she will vote for Trump, voted for Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary.
    She told CNN she didn't like Trump's comments, but felt she couldn't vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton because she doesn't trust her, while she felt Trump had at least "fessed up" to his mistakes.
    In choosing between two unpopular candidates, the character of both Clinton and Trump is being scrutinized.
    "I think she's not the one who should be throwing black marks against somebody else for making sexist remarks," Susan Champagne, sitting with her daughter, told CNN. "Bill did a lot more than that and he did it in the presidency not in the campaign."
    In 2015, voters predicted further controversy could hurt Trump but felt that attracting more attention was his aim.
    "All of the other candidates seem to be cut from the same mold," Marc Vadeboncoeur, a Republican from Raymond, told CNN in 2015, who was still evaluating the candidates. "Whether he stands out in a good way or a bad way because of this issue, issues like this, kind of remains to be seen."
    Sixty-seven-year-old New Hampshire resident Janie, who didn't want to give her last name, told CNN it made her day to get the chance to defend Trump.
    "What he says he doesn't mean, he jokes around a lot. He hasn't been in politics, and I think he would be a good president," she told CNN. "You got to pick and choose your battles."