Politics

How predictive are Iowa and New Hampshire in terms of the presidential race?

Bill Clinton hugs his wife Hillary at his election night party in New Hampshire in 1992. Clinton finished second, but after an even worse showing in Iowa, he declared himself the
Bill Clinton hugs his wife Hillary at his election night party in New Hampshire in 1992. Clinton finished second, but after an even worse showing in Iowa, he declared himself the "comeback kid."
Ron Frehm/AP

Iowa and New Hampshire get a lot of attention. But their records in picking presidents, let alone nominees, is spotty, as you can see from the chart made by NPR's Meg Kelly below.

http://a.scpr.org/i/85e23d72e7bb37ef615fe8d2bf891b04/117866-eight.jpg

That doesn't mean Iowa and New Hampshire don't matter. They have been effective at weeding the field of candidates and they're about momentum for those later states. Plus in the last 40 years, just one person has gone on to win the presidency after losing both Iowa and New Hampshire: Bill Clinton.

Here's how the predictability of the states breaks down by party:

Republicans

New Hampshire has been better at picking nominees for Republicans. Since 1976:

Iowa, on the other hand, has picked:

Here's the thing, though: No Republican has become the nominee in the last 40 years without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire.

Democrats

Iowa has been slightly better than New Hampshire at picking nominees on Democratic side. In fact, since 1976:

New Hampshire has picked:

Fun facts

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