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In an excellent summary of Iowa caucus history, David Yepsen, a political columnist for the Des Moines Register, offers an explanation for some important patterns in caucus voting:

One pattern that appears to be developing in the Iowa caucuses is a preference for Midwestern, or at least rural-oriented candidates. George McGovern of South Dakota, Walter Mondale of Minnesota, Richard Gephardt of Missouri have all done well in Iowa Democratic caucuses.

Harkin, of course, is from Iowa and won big there with 77% percent of the vote. Ultimately, he placed fourth in New Hampshire and his candidacy ended.

Take from this what you want, but if the pattern holds Obama has an edge if only because he is from a neighboring state, Illinois.

As the chart below shows, those neighborly picks don’t always pan out further down the campaign trail. The same is true for some Massachusetts candidates who got New Hampshire votes because they came from the “state down under.”

See my other comment: Iowa and New Hampshire’s track records in picking the Democratic nominee.

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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