With the Iowa caucuses over, New Hampshire is the next state in the political spotlight for the 2016 presidential election with its primary on Tuesday. But why is the New Hampshire primary important? Just like Iowa, the New Hampshire primary gives an important first look at what voters are really thinking beyond poll projections, according to Mashable. Where Iowa proved that the race between Clinton and Sanders was perhaps closer than expected, and that support for Trump might not be as strong as previously thought, New Hampshire will shed a different kind of light on who could end up going head-to-head for the White House, thanks to significant differences in the states’ voting populations.
Unlike Iowa, a state comprised largely of voters who have lived there their whole lives, almost one-third of New Hampshire voters lived elsewhere during the last election, or were not yet old enough to vote, according to USA Today. And while Republican candidates favored by evangelical and socially conservative voters tend to do well in Iowa (as seen by Sen. Ted Cruz’s Iowa win), New Hampshire Republicans tend to be more moderate. The combination of those two factors (coupled with the fact that New Hampshire usually has a much larger number of undecided voters than Iowa), suggests that the outcome of Tuesday’s primary could be very different than what was seen in Iowa.
For Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the results of New Hampshire will also be important, thanks to the result in Iowa, which was almost too close to call. Sanders was largely favored to win in New Hampshire, according to the New Statesman, but as the race between the two candidates becomes more heated, a win in New Hampshire can be a much-needed boost to one over the other. And, thanks to the differences in voters’ political attitudes between the two states — Iowa voters tend to be more decisively political, while New Hampshire voters generally see a higher turnout, according to USA Today — the two outcomes together give a more varied picture of voter preferences than either do alone.
But, of course, a large part of the New Hampshire primary’s significance is that an early win in New Hampshire is important for candidates who want to end up on the final ballot, according to Vox:
Every winner of a competitive major party presidential nomination contest since 1980 except one started off by winning the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, or both.
(The exception, by the way, was former President Bill Clinton, who won neither prior to becoming president.)
Of course, with such a tight race on the Democratic side, and a number of contenders still on the Republican side, it's too soon to name any clear front-runners. But the results from New Hampshire will bring candidates one step closer to knowing where they stand when it comes to bringing home the real political bacon (the presidential title).