Some states know how to pick them. Some don’t.

When it comes to choosing the eventual Republican presidential nominee, Iowa, famous for its early caucus, and Louisiana have the worst track-record in every election since 1976. Both have picked losers four times over that period, according to a new analysis by Eric Ostermeier, author of the Smart Politics blog and a research associate at the University of Minnesota. Of course, being first (or among the first) means no candidate has momentum yet, while later primaries and caucuses can be swayed by building support for one over the rest.

(Eric Ostermeier)
(Eric Ostermeier)

Nine states, on the other hand, have a perfect track record, though some weigh in late enough in the cycle that the nomination contest is already virtually over. Those nine states, all of them primary states, are Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Florida is the “most notable” given its traditionally early primary, Ostermeier writes. It has hosted one of the first five GOP primaries in five cycles, including 2012 and 2008. Until 2000, it held its primary in the second week of March. Illinois has generally held its primary in the third week of March.

The Maryland, Wisconsin and New York primaries have fallen near the front and end of the season over that period, while the primaries in Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio and Oregon have generally fallen later in the season as the nomination firmed up.

Over the period of the analysis, just six nominations were non-incumbent ones, Ostermeier notes.