The Washington Post

New Hampshire primaries to Iowa caucuses: yawn

Mitt Romney hits up New Hampshire voters. They don’t care about Iowa. (JESSICA RINALDI/REUTERS)

The New Englanders’ frostiness toward today’s corn-centric circus might have something to do with the fact that voters in each of these first states in the GOP’s presidential-picking process rarely see eye to eye.

New Hampshirites might take note of the doings over in Iowa, but they’re not influenced by it, says Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. “They’re listening, but they’re not necessarily following.”

After all, four years ago, New Hampshire Republicans picked Arizona Sen. John McCain--who had come in a dismal fourth place in Iowa. In 2004, George W. Bush won Iowa, but come in second in New Hampshire to McCain. And in 2000, Iowans went for Bush, while New Hampshirites picked McCain.

The big differences are in the type of voters who turn up for Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, Kohut notes, mostly because of the very different structures of the balloting. Independents make up a far bigger chunk of those taking part in the festivities in New Hampshire than in Iowa.

This year, though, might prove the rare moment when the two states finally agree: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is leading the polls in both states.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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