The Iowa caucuses vs the New Hampshire primary

The Iowa caucuses vs the New Hampshire primary

Mike Snyder (Sea Shanty Irish) looks back at the record




Dem Iowa D = 120,000 Gephardt 31% Simon 27% DUKAKIS 22% Jackson 9% Babbit 6%

NH D = 125,000 DUKAKIS 36% Gephardt 20% Simon 17% Jackson 8%

Iowa give Gephardt narrow win, but NH backlash boosts neighbor Dukakis, sets back Gephardt & Simon
Rep Iowa R = 110,000 Dole 38% Robertson 25% BUSH1 19% Kemp 11% DuPont 7%

NH R = 159,000 BUSH1 38% Dole 29% Kemp 13% DuPont 11% Robertson 9%

Hawkeyes for Dole knock GHW Bush for a loop, but NH backlash saves Bush, hurts Dole, marginalizes rest


Dem Iowa D = 30,000 Harkin 76% uncomm = 12% Tsongas 4% CLINTONB 2%

NH D = 170,333 Tsongas 33% CLINTONB 25% KerryB 11% Harkin 10%

Dems concede Iowa to Hawkeye local; NH makes Tsongas frontrunner AND saves “comback kid” Bill Clinton
Rep Iowa R = no vote

NH R = 177,970 BUSH1* 53% Buchanan 38% Tsongas 2% Nader 2%

Iowa passes, while NH primary boosts insurgent Buchanan AND further weakens incumbent Bush the Elder


Dem Iowa D = 50,000 CLINTONB* 100%

NH D = 95,000 CLINTONB* 84% Buchanan 4%

Iowa & NH Dems unite to re-elect Bill Clinton, with NH murmurings against the incumbent as per usual
Rep Iowa R = 91,000 DOLE 26% Buchanan 23% Alexander 14% Forbes 10%

NH R = 210,211 Buchanan 27% DOLE 26% Alexander 23% Forbes 12%

Establishmentarian Dole battles insurgent Buchanan to split verdicts, marginalizing Alexander & Forbes


Dem Iowa D = 61,000 GORE 63% Bradley 37%

NH D = 154,639 GORE 50% Bradley 46% McCain 2%

Iowa goes 2/1 for Clintons’ VP Gore over challenger Bradley, but NH backlash results in close split decision
Rep Iowa R = 87,666 BUSH2 41% Forbes 30% Keyes 14% Bauer 9% McCain 5%

NH R = 236,820 McCain 49% BUSH2 30% Forbes 13% Keyes 6%

Iowa makes W the frontrunner & McCain way back, but NH backlash gives boost to McC & threatens Bush2


Dem Iowa D = 124,000 KERRYJ 38% Edwards 32% Dean 18% Gephardt 11%

NH D = 219,787 KERRYJ 38% Dean 26% Clark 12% Edwards 12%

Iowa shocks by boosting Kerry & sinking Dean, NH ratifies by giving real bounce to Kerry & deat-cat to Dean
Rep Iowa R = no vote

NH R = 67,883 BUSH2* 80% KerryJ 4% Dean 3% Clark 2%

Iowa again passes, very NH low turnout on GOP side with incubent W winning but with murmurings


Dem Iowa D = 240,000 OBAMA 38% Edwards 30% ClintonH 29% Richardson 2%

NH D = 288,672 ClintonH 39% OBAMA 36% Edwards 17% Richardson 5%

Iowa makes Obama frontrunner & knocks Clinton to 3rd, but NH backlash bolsters Hillary & jolts Barack
Rep Iowa R = 120,000 Huckabee 34% Romney 25% Thompson 13% McCAIN 13% Paul 10%

NH R = 241,039 McCAIN 37% Romney 32% Huckabee 11% Giuliani 9% Paul 8%

Hawkeye surge for Huckabee trumps Romney cash, then NH backlash for McCain trumps Mitt yet again

The New Hampshire presidential primary emerged as an important milestone on the presidential campaign trail in 1952 when insurgent Democratic US Senator Estes Kefauver took to the snowy byways of the Granite State, challenging incumbent but soon-to-be lameduck President Harry Truman. The Tennessean lost the nomination, but put the New Hampshire primary on the map.

Then in 1976, in the wake of Watergate, another outsider and challenger to the Beltway establishment, Gov Jimmy Carter of Georgia, used the Iowa precinct caucuses to launch his campaign both in the Hawkeye State and in the subsequent New Hampshire primary. Carter went on to win the White House, and the linkage between the Iowa precinct caucuses closely followed by the New Hampshire presidential primary was born. In that bicentennial year of 1976, Iowa voters participating in local public meetings came to a decision that New Hampshire voters casting ballots in a statewide election went on to ratify.

HOWEVER, in the very next cycle emerged the first evidence of the opposite trend: New Hampshire backlash against Iowa. In 1980, George HW Bush narrowly beat Ronald Reagan in the Iowa caucuses. The response by New Hampshire voters was to give the Californian 50% of the GOP primary vote and the Texas Ivy Leaguer just 23%. And while Democrats in both Iowa and New Hampshire held the line together for President Carter against challenger US Sen Edward Kennedy, in 1984 the story was different. That year, the winner of the Iowa precinct caucuses was fellow midwesterner former VP Walter Mondale who was supported by the old guard party establishment, but New Hampshire voters heard the beat of a different drummer, namely Colorado US Senator and ”new” Democrat Gary Hart.

The chart gives the twin capsule histories of the Iowa precinct caucuses and New Hampshire presidential primary from 1988 through 2008. DISCUSS & DEBATE.

During that quarter-century span, Iowa has tended to establish initial standings, with New Hampshire sometime ratifying the Iowa result but more often backlashing against it, though occasionally you can see evidence of both trends at the same time.

Voter participation is variable, caucus process is less encouraging of turnout than primary, but other factors include presence of incumbent president in the race which can have tendency to send voters into the caucuses or primary of the other party.

Note that in Iowa voters may register and change party affiliation at the caucuses, and that while Republican conduct a presidential straw poll, Democrats elect delegates, and presidential results are actually calculated percentage of total Iowa national convention delegation; further note that in NH presidential primary which is divided between Democratic & Republican statewide votes for president AND vice president, some votes are always cast in the Democratic primary for Republican candidates (by registered Dems unable to vote in the GOP primary) and in GOP primary for Democratic candidates (visa versa).

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