Sunday, January 06, 2008

False Attack Against Iowa & New Hampshire

I have criticized the primary process before and I think that NH & Iowa are bad states to begin the process but only because of their silly voting system (Iowa's caucus formulae requires a degree in multi-variable calculus and New Hampshire allows independents to vote).

But I want to respond to charges like these (this one by Kevin Drum): "Am I feeling bitter? You bet.... Because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country."

Kevin is not alone in his ire. So let me point two things out:
1. the 2000 election was a dead-heat in one state - Florida - and hung on the fate of hanging chads
2. the 2004 election, similarly, was hung on one state - Ohio.

Ohio and Florida are swing states. And so are New Hampshire and Iowa.

  • Iowa = R-634,373 D-638,517 (4144 difference, D win)
  • NH = R-273,559, D-266,348 (7211 difference, R win)

  • Iowa = R-751,957 D-741,898 (10059 difference, R win)
  • NH = R-331,237 D-340,511 (9274 difference, D win)

    Just to make it clearer: both states were close in 2000 & 2004 and both states switched parties in between those elections (as a result of how close they are).

    So, to all the pundits who say that these two states, or any two states, shouldn't determine our candidates, I say:
    1. Florida and Ohio already have done that, and badly, so your ire is misplaced

    2. New Hampshire and Iowa are smaller than those two states but have the same role, so in a sense I don't really care who gets the first two as long as they will show how 'swing voters' act since they are the only one who count anyway.

    3. Being small states, they may be easier to campaign in so it may help the actual voters know the candidates instead of "learning" from the TV News or Jay Leno.

    Again, my ire against the two states comes about their processes (stated above) and not their influence. I'm too cynical to expect a much better system and smart enough to say that swing voters will have inordinate influence until we eject the Electoral College.
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