New Hampshire Scenarios, Including Iowa Momentum

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 22:53


Last month, over at MyDD diarist fladem looked into the historical impact of the results of the Iowa caucus on the results of the New Hampshire primary. His or her study was a useful one, since it provides us with a general framework for how much a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th place finish in Iowa will impact New Hampshire standings. Using immediately pre-Iowa polling in New Hampshire from 1988 and 2004, the last two times Iowa was hotly contested in the Democratic primary, fladem produced the following estimated New Hampshire bounce for Iowa:

Iowa impact on New Hampshire

1st: Plus 14.5 in NH
2nd: Plus 3.2 in NH
3rd: Minus 3.5 in NH
4th: Minus 4.4 in NH

These numbers pretty much jibe with what I have heard about the historical Iowa bounce, so for the purposes of this post I am willing to accept them. Also, according to Pollster.com, here are the current estimated standings in New Hampshire:

Clinton: 35.5
Obama: 20.6
Edwards: 12.1
Richardson: 9.7

Now, even without these numbers, it is generally accepted that if Clinton wins Iowa, she will have little difficult sweeping to the nomination. However, in the extended entry, using the numbers above, I have provided estimated results for every other New Hampshire scenario involving a top four Iowa finish among Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Richardson. Check it out:
Chris Bowers :: New Hampshire Scenarios, Including Iowa Momentum
Projected New Hampshire results, if Obama wins Iowa
Scenario Guide
#1: O, E, R, C
#2: O, E, C, R
#3: O, R, C, E
#4: O, R, E, C
#5: O, C, E, R
#6: O, C, R, E
Scenario Clinton Obama Edwards Richardson
#1 31.1% 35.1% 15.3% 6.2%
#2 32.0% 35.1% 15.3% 5.5%
#3 32.0% 35.1% 7.7% 12.9%
#4 31.1% 35.1% 8.6% 12.9%
#5 38.7% 35.1% 8.6% 5.5%
#6 38.7% 35.1% 7.7% 6.2%

Analysis: Obama wins in New Hampshire in four of the six scenarios, but every scenario is within four points. All very close. Also, an Obama victory instantly makes the campaign a two-way race between him and Clinton.

Projected New Hampshire results, if Edwards wins Iowa
Scenario Guide
#1: E, R, O, C
#2: E, R, C, O
#3: E, O, C, R
#4: E, O, R, C
#5: E, C, R, O
#6: E, C, O, R
Scenario Clinton Obama Edwards Richardson
#1 31.1% 17.1% 26.6% 12.9%
#2 32.0% 16.2% 26.6% 12.9%
#3 32.0% 23.8% 26.6% 5.5%
#4 31.1% 23.8% 26.6% 6.2%
#5 38.7% 16.2% 26.6% 6.2%
#6 38.7% 17.1% 26.6% 5.5%

Analysis: With the possible exception of Richardson #4, the most interesting of all New Hampshire scenarios is Edwards #4. However, as we will also see with Richardson below, Edwards fails to take the lead in any possible Iowa scenario. The conclusion must be that Edwards needs to improve in New Hampshire, and at least hold his current lead in Iowa, to have a real shot at the nomination, since he probably needs to win both states in order to make up enough ground elsewhere.

Projected New Hampshire results, if Richardson wins Iowa
Scenario Guide
#1: R, E, O, C
#2: R, E, C, O
#3: R, O, C, E
#4: R, O, E, C
#5: R, C, E, O
#6: R, C, O, E
Scenario Clinton Obama Edwards Richardson
#1 31.1% 17.1% 15.3% 24.2%
#2 32.0% 16.2% 15.3% 24.2%
#3 32.0% 23.8% 7.7% 24.2%
#4 31.1% 23.8% 8.6% 24.2%
#5 38.7% 16.2% 8.6% 24.2%
#6 38.7% 17.1% 7.7% 24.2%

Analysis: Since he leads in none of these scenarios, Richardson is probably not yet close enough in New Hampshire yet to have a shot at the nomination. Currently, he probably has to win both states to take the nomination. #1 is the best scenario for Richardson, but even it probably isn’t enough to take New Hampshire (yet).

Overall: Clinton’s advantage in New Hampshire is currently so strong that it appears she has a more than reasonable chance to win the state even after a third or fourth place finish in Iowa. In fact, while several other scenarios are quite close, she is currently projected to win the state in every scenario, except for a third or fourth place Iowa finish combined with an Obama Iowa victory. Thus, it would appear that as long as she maintains either a lead of at least 11-12 points in New Hampshire, or at least second-place in Iowa, she must be considered the prohibitive favorite for the nomination. Of course, we are still about five months of the Iowa caucus, so a lot can happen between now and then.

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New Hampshire Scenarios, Including Iowa Momentum (0.00 / 0)
I don't understand why Hillary is so far ahead. Surely the voters realize just because they are getting her, they won't be getting her husband.

Hillary Clinton is ahead because (0.00 / 1)
#1 she started off ahead, and
#2 she hasn't made any major mistakes, and
#3 this surprised me, but in all the debates I've seen, she actually looked like the smartest candidate. Because I am a progressive, I like Edwards' positions better the Clinton's. However, when they talk, she always appears to understand the issues and the actual question better than the other top-tier candidates. Biden is smart, too, but he's too far back.

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)

I'm biased (0.00 / 1)
but I've always thought Obama's answers have seemed the most thoughtful during the debates. However, Clinton definitely comes across as the most well-polished and rehearsed, which can be good or bad depending on what you're looking for. For the most part, the media has portrayed her as the winner of the debates. Obama seems to do better at the forum events, especially Take Back America, the AFSCME forum, and today's NAACP forum. He has more time to explain himself, expound upon his answers. Or, as in the case of Take Back America, he can show off his speaking abilities.

[ Parent ]
it is utterly depressing (0.00 / 0)
that after all the primary scheduling games, and the years - years! - of campaigning, it still comes down to Iowa and New Hampshire, with all the following primaries being little more than an extended reality TV show. welcome to war with Iran, kids - Democrat style.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

Not sure I agree with the Edwards analysis. (4.00 / 1)
Specifically, I disagree with the idea that Edwards "probably needs to win BOTH states in order to make up enough ground elsewhere." The Nevada caucus makes things interesting, it being relevant here that I believe Edwards will likely have the support of UNITE HERE and other unions in Nevada, and solid on-the-ground organizing makes a more-than-normal difference in caucuses. If Edwards wins Iowa, but only places second in New Hampshire -- which happens in all of the "Edwards-wins-Iowa" scenarios -- then I think he is still very much alive in Nevada and probably elsewhere. It would be interesting to see what kind of a bounce folks get from New Hampshire, i.e. extend the model out further.

Right now (0.00 / 0)
Nevada is actually before New Hampshire. This could actually still change, but that's how it would be if primary season started today. So actually, if Edwards does hold it together in Iowa, he could either win in Nevada and have momentum of 2 victories going into New Hampshire, or lose in Nevada and have some of the momentum killed. Or maybe the Nevada caucuses will be ignored by the media and the campaigns to an extent similar to what they already have been, in which case it wouldn't matter a whole lot what happens there (i.e., what happens in Vegas really could stay in Vegas. Sorry... I couldn't help myself)

I tend to think the candidates will spend at least some time there. I think there's a debate scheduled in Vegas for the night after the Iowa caucuses, so there's at least one day and night. And you might as well spend that night there, too, unless you're Chris Dodd and you're hoping for your breakthrough to happen in the Granite State. That being said, I'm not sure the NV caucuses are going to be treated as the big 2nd show in 2008 in the same way as New Hampshire has in years past


[ Parent ]
Nevada (4.00 / 1)
One thing that isn't mentioned here is the fact that Nevada is currently perched between Iowa and New Hampshire, at least for the time being. This could alter the affects of the Iowa bounce in New Hampshire in a significant way. For example, many have pointed out that Edwards' work in the state with hotel workers' unions would leave him in a good position to follow up on an Iowa victory, given the lack of attention being paid to the state.

Of course, that is making a lot of assumptions. If the Iowa caucuses have a similar bounce effect on Nevada as they do on New Hampshire, it's a moot point, since Clinton is currently blowing away the field, even more so than in NH. But given the seeming wild card status of the NV caucuses at this point, it seems possible that the winner of the Iowa caucuses could be looking at even more momentum going into New Hampshire.

Of course, the other scenario is that Edwards or Obama win Iowa, but can't convert the win into victory in Nevada, which sticks with Clinton. In that case, it's possible that some of the momentum fueling an Iowa bounce in NH would be sapped. I guess it all depends on how much attention the campaigns and the media pay to Nevada. Right now, it is definitely playing fourth fiddle to Iowa, New Hampshire, and even South Carolina.


Indeed this is important (0.00 / 0)
I think there are scenarios where Edwards wins the nomination without winning New Hampshire.  I think he'd need to run the table elsewhere in the early states, however, and he'd need Clinton to finish third a lot.  It's a difficult road for everyone but Clinton, really.

Insert shameless blog promotion here.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (0.00 / 0)
The thing is, Clinton is under no circumstances going to be going away before February 5th, and I don't think Obama will be either. Even if he doesn't win in Iowa or New Hampshire, I'm pretty confident that Obama will win in South Carolina (especially if he places a strong 2nd in NH). Even if he doesn't, it wouldn't be unreasonable to see him retool and mount a last-ditch effort to win some states on February 5th.

If the primaries were held today, let's say the following scenario plays out:

1/14: Edwards wins Iowa.
1/19: Clinton wins Nevada.
1/22: Clinton wins New Hampshire.
1/29: Obama wins South Carolina. Clinton wins Florida.

Going into February 5th, there could conceivably be a 3-way race. Clinton would be way out front, and it would be hard to conceive of a 3-way race helping anyone but her.

How do we get to a one-on-one race with Clinton and Obama or Edwards? The easiest way would be for Edwards to lose in Iowa. If he doesn't win in Iowa, there would be immense pressure to drop out. Even if he stays on in New Hampshire, he's almost certainly not going to win there if he doesn't take Iowa, so he would presumably be out before South Carolina, or at least before February 5th, if he can't take Iowa. Another possibility is Edwards wins Iowa, Clinton takes 2nd, Obama takes 3rd, and Edwards wins in Nevada and places 1st or 2nd in Nevada. What happens if this dampens enthusiasm and organization in South Carolina to the point where Obama doesn't win down there? Would he be compelled to drop out before February 5th? It's hard to say. In any case, I think it's going to be hard for anyone but Clinton get the nomination if the February 5th contests aren't effectively rendered a 1-on-1 matchup.


[ Parent ]
See but (0.00 / 0)
if that happens, the dominant media narrative will be "Clinton's the comeback kid" and she'll dominate Super Duper Tuesday.  I think Obama has to do something besides South Carolina to be competitive, and in that above scenario, Edwards is finished.

I think the three-way race scenario is possible, but remote.

Insert shameless blog promotion here.


[ Parent ]
I think (0.00 / 0)
Obama or Edwards are going to want at least two victories under their respective belts going into 2/5 if they are going to seriously take out Clinton. I think one victory at least preserves the rationale for sticking around, and maybe they'd alter their campaigns to start attacking her from different angles to see if it sticks (electability and her high negatives, perhaps... though Edwards is starting that already)

[ Parent ]
In my research on the initial article (0.00 / 0)
I came across some information that in 1984 the Maine Caucuses took place between Iowa and New Hampshire.

My memory (I worked for Hart in NH) was that it did help a little in generating momentum - but to be frank I had forgotten it. 

My guess is that Nevada becomes a sideshow between Iowa and New Hampshire.  Might help a little - but my guess is not much.


[ Parent ]
hmmm (0.00 / 0)
This New York Times article says the win in New Hampshire helped propel Hart to victory in Maine, so I think it might have happened in reverse order

[ Parent ]
Interesting... Veeerrrryyy Interesting (0.00 / 0)
The 24 possibilites show what a large lead Clinton has at the present time. There is still a lot of time, and a lot can happen in 5 months. Edwards knows he is in 3rd, so he is likely to take chances that Clinton will not. But caution will not wear well as we get closer to the election.

There is one other possibility that no one seems to want to discuss. What happens if Al Gore decides to run? Would an apparent Clinton victory spur Gore to enter?

Get with the rhythm of Al Gore! Support the Al Gore Rhythm!


nope (0.00 / 0)
If Gore's going to run, he's got to get it together now. He's not just going to announce that he's running in November (let alone January or February) and pull together the kind of organization that he needs to beat Clinton.

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

[ Parent ]
plus (0.00 / 0)
Plus I can't imagine gore being the type to come in if clinton was winning.  Given his personality and past relationship with her I could only see him coming in if she was badly losing.

[ Parent ]
history (0.00 / 0)
Personally, while I tend to be a big believer in historical models I think it is more useful to try to tie elections to past ones.

However this election is different as it offers differences much more plain to see to the average person than normal.  So, I'd expect the numbers to be much more resistant to change than normal.


1988, 2004 Way Overstate Likely 2008 Iowa Bounce (0.00 / 0)
It's really simple: who wins in Iowa can make a lot of difference in an unsettled race where primary voters' support isn't very firm.

But 2008 isn't shaping up that way.

Especially with Hillary and Obama.  There's no reason not to continue voting for them in NH or SC or CA or wherever, even if they haven't done well to date, because they're still very much in the game unless and until they tank on Feb. 5.

No one primary will have the impact that early primaries have traditionally had in the past. 


That is possible (0.00 / 0)
But you are guessing, too. The truth is, the post-Iowa bounce may not be knowable.My gut tells me either a Romney or Thompson near sweep for Rs will be matched by either a Clinton sweep or a total clusterf*** on our side. But my gut tends toward strange things, like dried mangoes.

[ Parent ]
1988 and 2004 (4.00 / 2)
I don't buy the basic bump analysis:
* In both instances, there was a Massachusetts Dem on the ballot with more of a built-in base who ended up winning New Hampshire (plus in 2004, Dean as a second New England candidate); there isn't in 2008.
* In 1988, there was a strong Midwest regional candidate on the ballot (Gephardt) who won Iowa, but that wasn't necessarily going to translate to NH.
I also don't think you can immediately mitigate the notion that if Clinton wins Iowa (and esp. if it's close), the "anti-Clinton" NH Dems rally around whoever placed second in the caucus.

the bump is probably candidate specific (0.00 / 0)
Kerry was a probable third place in Iowa that sprung to first on the back of the M.A.D. of Gephardt and Dean; the massiveness of the rise from third to first had to be at least partially responsible for the size of the bump in NH.  An Edwards or Clinton win there probably would result in a much smaller bump going into NH.

I think that Adam B. is right. "Anti-Clinton" NH Dems are probably among the softest votes in NH, and will constitute a very important swing vote come the first primary.  Especially if the Clinton #1, X candidate #2 repeats itself in Nevada (assuming Nevada still goes second, which is a pretty big assumption).


[ Parent ]
Interesting Data (0.00 / 0)
By the day before the Iowa caucus, Kerry passed Clark for 2d place in NH, and within 48h he went +7 and Dean -6.  By that Saturday, Kerry was +18, Edwards +7 and Dean -12 from where they had been on Monday.

Here's some IA tracking numbers as well.


[ Parent ]
For the record (4.00 / 1)
I am a he.

A Richardson second place finish might give him a bounce similar to that of Hart in '84, which was 27 points. It might also have a similar effect on the front runner (Mondale went down 10 points in NH in the week after Iowa).

One dynamic that is clearly hurting Edward's chances given his Iowa fist strategy (which is the right one) is his decline in New Hampshire. Right now I don't think an Iowa win would get him over the hump in NH.

As I noted in the diary - I will be posting a diary on the impact of winning New Hampshire on the National Polls (to stop people from citing them)

Here is the raw data - a win in NH is worth an average of 27 points in the National Polls. Below is the change in the National Polls from Pre Iowa to the most recent poll after New hampshire.
19801984198819922000 2004 Average
First 15 36 15.002219 36.8 26
Second -10 -13 8.0015-7-11.3-2
ThirdNA -14 -1.00-3NA 6.6 -3
FourthNA-7 -7.000NA-7.5-5
FifthNA-40.004NA-2.7-1

More data in the upcoming diary focusing on the how the undecided moves after New Hampshire, and how the averages differ for front runners vs. non-front runners.


Not sure... (0.00 / 0)
... how much stock to put it in this, but...

I like numbers and tables and charts.

This is fun. Thanks for posting it.

What's the Point?


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