StateImpact's Essential Guide To The NH Primary


The Basics

T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images

The NH primary represents a specific niche in the state's economy

The New Hampshire primary is a mainstay in American electoral politics.  Every four years, voters gather to help determine the Republican and/or Democratic nominee for President.  While the state only has 12 electoral votes in 2012 (normally it’s 24, but the Republican National Committee penalized the state party for moving up the event date), the primary’s position as one of the earliest contests gives the state out-sized influence over the nomination process.

Only the Iowa caucuses come before New Hampshire’s primary.  Traditionally, New Hampshire’s broad-based primary contest has been seen as a counter-weight to Iowa’s more drawn-out caucus process, which tends to draw a smaller core of party faithful.  In the case of the 2012 Republican race, New Hampshire’s electorate is seen to represent the more libertarian-leaning, fiscally conservative wing of the party, while Iowa voters are seen as representing the socially conservative wing of the GOP base.

The Economy And The 2012 Republican Race

As a site focusing on business and the economy, the 2012 First In The Nation Primary is of particular interest to StateImpact.  Reflecting the down economy nationwide, the WMUR Granite State Poll found 63 percent of the state’s voters say their major concern is the economy and jobs.  That’s compared to 10 percent who cite the budget deficit as their main issue, and three percent who are particularly worried about taxes.  This is despite the fact that New Hampshire currently boasts one of the strongest state economies in the country.

Why The Primary Matters To The NH Economy

_J_D_R_ / Flickr

The NH primary's impact on the economy is not huge, but it's significant

But there’s more to our interest in the New Hampshire primary than recession-related concerns specific to the 2012 contest.  There’s a whole economic ecosystem tied to the First In The Nation primary.  While TV ad buys during primary years represent the bulk of candidate spending, researchers found that roughly 2,200 jobs were directly or indirectly tied to the 2000 New Hampshire primary.  That year, $83 million went to the state in direct primary spending, and $231 million in combined direct, indirect, and induced spending.  The state’s First In The Nation status also makes it a draw for political tourists and candidate supporters from across the country.  So while the primary’s not a huge part of New Hampshire’s economy, it’s nonetheless significant.

With that in mind, we’ve collected our economy-related StateImpact coverage of the New Hampshire primary right here for your perusal.


Latest Posts

StateImpact Talks Primary Economics With ATC Host Brady Carlson

It seems StateImpact’s coverage of the New Hampshire primary got the attention of NHPR’s All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.  So we sat down with him in the studio and dished on some of the highlights of our economics-based primary reporting.

Romney And The Economy: Two Ways To Read His NH Victory Speech

A number of media outlets (including the Boston Globe) noted that Mitt Romney’s victory speech after the New Hampshire primary felt more like a general election speech than a nomination contest speech. But we’re less interested in the flavor of Romney’s speech than we are in the text and the overarching themes.  As we’ve noted […]

How NH Counties Voted (Based On Economic Drivers)

This year, NHPR’s GOP primary coverage took on a strong national flavor, broadcasting to listeners all over the country.  Among the network’s expanded audience were WNYC listeners in, well…NYC.  And in the spirit of inter-station cooperation, the good folks at WNYC and Patchwork Nation used AP polling data to put together a county-by-county map of […]

November Granite State Poll Number Ridiculously Close To Primary Night Figure

Before the primary, StateImpact broke down voter psychology with University of New Hampshire Survey Center Director Andy Smith.  (You can read the full post here.)  One of the things his WMUR Granite State Poll found back in November was that 63 percent of voters said the combined issue of the economy and jobs was their […]

For Your Entertainment: Tourism And One Of Primary Night’s Most Amusing Tweets

One of our most popular New Hampshire primary posts looked at how much the months-long political circus affects Granite State tourism.  (You can read that post here.) Political tourism is definitely a niche hobby. Given that context, we were rather entertained by this tweet from Union-Leader Editorial Page Editor Drew Cline:

How Much Does The Primary Actually Help NH Tourism?

In an earlier post, we spent a fair amount of time breaking down the economic impact of New Hampshire primary spending.  (You can read that post here.) But there was one aspect we didn’t really touch on, and that’s the money generated by tourists who come here to watch the First In The Nation primary […]

Days Before The Primary, Restaurant Bans Politicians

It’s pretty much a given that when presidential candidates want to chat up the citizenry, they include a hearty portion of local restaurant stops in their schedules.  That’s especially true in an important early primary state like New Hampshire.  Footage of politicians smiling, shaking hands, and chowing down wings served by smiling waiters at Any […]

“It’s All Relative”: Economy Remains Atop NH Voters’ Minds

Gliko / Flickc As NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein reports, despite the fact that New Hampshire’s economy is stronger than most of the country’s and has an unemployment rate well below the national average, Republican voters are still worried about their future. As New Hampshire economist Ross Gittell puts it: “It’s all relative.” Gittell told Gorenstein:

New Hampshire Primary Spending Way Down Among Republican Candidates

If it feels like maybe Republican presidential candidates aren’t spending as much in New Hampshire as they did in the run-up to the 2008 primary, you’re onto something.  Bob Sanders of the New Hampshire Business Review dug into campaign expenditures thus far, and found: “The voting results won’t be in until January, but so far […]

“Affordable” North Conway Outlets Get Shout-Out On SNL

In all likelihood, most of you aren’t visiting StateImpact for our primary coverage.  Yes, we completely agree that the Republican primary is a Very Big Deal.  But most people don’t go to business news sites to get nitty-gritty political coverage, either.  So we try to keep political stories strictly focused on New Hampshire’s business and […]

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