Three of the pollsters have weighed in - two have reasonable explanations one does not. Let's start with the does not, Andrew Kohut Pew Research Center. In a New York Times OP-ED he blames it almost entirely on the so called Bradley Effect where white voters tell the pollster they are going to vote for a black and then don't. Todd Mitchell of the Democratic Daily does a good job of debunking that one. This is really passing the buck and it seems obvious thaat PEW will learn nothing from this experience.
Both Zogby and Rasmussen have reasonable explanations both of which revolve around the short period between Iowa and New Hampshire, the large number who decided on the day of the election, Hillary's tears and the final debate. That sounds about right I think they left out the impact of the DC pundits reaction to Hillary's tears. Yes, maybe Chris Matthews did give the election to Hillary.
Zogby also mentions something I talked about the night before the elections, the Independents.
We expected that Obama would receive the lion’s share of independents and drain the Republican primary of these voters. It now appears that, perhaps with a sense that Obama had a lock on the Democratic side, independents felt free to vote on the Republican side and reward their hero, John McCain.I had asked if both McCain and Obama could win in NH because they were both heavily dependent on the Independents.
Rasmussen thinks it might have had something to do with the high turnout and who actually showed up.
The problem may also have resulted from the greatest challenge in polling--determining who will actually show up and vote. This is especially difficult in a Primary Election. It is possible, perhaps likely, that the polling models used by Rasmussen Reports and others did not account for the very high turnout experienced in New Hampshire. Rasmussen Reports normally screens out people with less voting history and less interest in the race. This might have caused us to screen out some women who might not ordinarily vote in a Primary but who came out to vote due to the historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy. The final Rasmussen Reports poll anticipated that 54% of the Democratic voters would be women while exit polls showed that number to be 57%.