As the orchestra begins tuning up and the audience starts filing in from the lobby, the curtain is about to rise on the opening of the 2012 Presidential Race. Act One will focus on the Republican Party and who they will select as their nominee, to challenge President Obama in is re-election efforts.
The first state to hold any binding vote for delegates has, since 1972, has been the great state of
. The Iowa Caucus has been deemed important to candidates, due to the media and voter attention the winner usually derives. As noted in Wikipedia: Iowa
Iowa caucuses are noteworthy for the amount of media attention they receive during presidential election years. Since 1972, the U.S. caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States. Although only about one percent of the nation's delegates are chosen by the Iowa Iowa State Convention, the caucuses have served as an early indication of which candidates for president might win the nomination of their political party at that party’s national convention.” Iowa
But is this contention truly accurate?
For the Republican Party, who adopted the caucus format in 1976, there have been 9 such events through the 2008 campaign. Of those nine, three were uncontested races, as the incumbent Presidents, Bush II, Bush I & Reagan, ran unopposed. The remaining six contested events saw the winner go on to win their party’s nomination only 33% of the time. If you discount Reagan’s challenge to sitting President Ford in 1976 and look at the five open contests, the winning percentage inches up to 40%. Not very rewarding odds or results, considering the attention, time and money, candidates need to invest there.
By contrast, the New Hampshire Primary has had quite a different effect on GOP Presidential nomination campaigns. Many political historians and prognosticators see NH as having a greater impact, due to its timing and increased media attention. It has had the ability to make, break or resurrect campaigns. As pointed out in Wikipedia:
“Controlling for other factors statistically, a win in
increases a candidate's share of the final primary count in all states by 27 percentage points. New Hampshire
Before the Iowa caucus first received national attention in the 1970s (Republicans began caucusing in
Iowa in 1976), the primary was the first binding indication of which presidential candidate would receive the party nomination. In defense of their primary, voters of New Hampshire New Hampshire have tended to downplay the importance of the caucus. "The people of Iowa Iowa pick corn, the people of pick presidents," said then-Governor John H. Sununu in 1988. New Hampshire
Since then, the primary has been considered an early measurement of the national attitude toward the candidates for nomination. Unlike a caucus, the primary measures the number of votes each candidate received directly, rather than through precinct delegates. The popular vote gives lesser-known candidates a chance to demonstrate their appeal to the electorate at large.”
So how does a
New Hampshire victory compare to in terms of boosting a GOP candidate’s chances of going forward to win the nomination? Iowa
There have been fifteen NH primaries from 1952 through 2008. During those years, five races were uncontested or viable, due to incumbency. Two other races saw challengers to a sitting President – Gerald Ford in 1976 and George H. W. Bush in 1992, both of who were victorious in the primary and being re-nominated. Of the remaining eight open
primaries, the winner eventually advanced to nomination victory on six occasions or 75% of the time. New Hampshire
Something to keep in mind as the plot develops in the upcoming political drama.