How important are Iowa and New Hampshire to winning post-reform presidential nominations?

Randall E. Adkins, Andrew J. Dowdle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


While conventional wisdom holds that the first delegate selection events in Iowa and New Hampshire are important influences on the outcome of the presidential selection process, scholars increasingly question whether victories in these "bellwether" contests are sufficient to propel darkhorse candidates to the nomination. This study utilizes four OLS regression models to predict nomination outcomes from 1980 to 1996 where the incumbent president did not sit for reelection. Earlier research demonstrated the possibility of forecasting presidential nominations by examining the results of (1) public opinion polls; FEC records regarding (2) money raised; and (3) cash reserves; and (4) whether candidates were southern Democrats (Mayer 1996a; Adkins and Dowdle 2000). Utilizing measures representing the outcome of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, this study contrasts the effect of momentum from these early contests on final primary vote totals. Evidence suggests that New Hampshire plays a role in determining the ordinal ranking of candidate finishes, but not necessarily the winner of the party nomination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-444
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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