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The closer we get to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the more interesting it is to look at the historical relevance of those two contests, at least as far as the Democrats are concerned.

In putting this table together, what impresses me most is that only three times since 1972 did both Iowa and New Hampshire choose the same candidate who then became the eventual Democratic nominee (excluding the incumbent years of 1980 and 1996).

In other words, less than half the time — 43% to be exact — did a candidate win both contests and then become the nominee.

If we start with the 1972 campaign year, looked at separately Iowa and New Hampshire have identical track records in picking winners. Each picked the eventual nominee in four out of seven elections, a 57% rate of success (again excluding the incumbent races).

Of course, each contest has its own little side story that is relevant to the relationship between primary winners and the nominee selection.

For example, although Bill Clinton did not win the 1992 New Hampshire primary, the “Comeback kid” had enough momentum coming out of here, that he then used this “victory” as a springboard for future successes. Bill Clinton won neither the Iowa caucuses nor the New Hampshire primary but became the nominee.

In an unusual case in which the victor in both contests did not become the nominee, Ed Muskie’s campaign quickly fell apart after New Hampshire. Many believe that the publisher of the powerful New Hampshire Union Leader had a lot to do with Muskie’s demise. The cruel-hearted William Loeb taunted Muskie as weak and “unpresidential” after Muskie cried when his wife had been attacked during the campaign.

Perhaps more relevant to the current campaign is the solidarity among Iowa and New Hampshire voters in picking the same candidate — Gore and Kerry — who then became the ultimate nominee.

Time will tell, but my prediction is that Hillary will win both Iowa and New Hampshire and ultimately become the Democratic nominee.

Surprised?

 The Iowa – New Hampshire Connection

  Prepared by Rake Morgan for the Hillary Clinton Quarterly 

Election Year
Iowa Caucus Winner
New Hampshire Winner
Democratic Nominee
2004
John Kerry
John Kerry
John Kerry
2000
Al Gore
Al Gore
Al Gore
1996
Bill Clinton (incumbent)
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
1992
Tom Harkin
Paul Tsongas
Bill Clinton
1988
Dick Gephardt
Mike Dukakis
Mike Dukakis
1984
Walter Mondale
Gary Hart
Walter Mondale
1980
Jimmy Carter (incumbent)
Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
1976
Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
1972
Ed Muskie
Ed Muskie
George McGovern
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