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Report Shows Unearthly Power of Iowa and New Hampshire Voters

How much power exactly? Try FIVE TIMES THE WORTH OF A SUPER TUESDAY VOTER!

Two economists, Brian Knight and Nathan Schiff, set out a few years ago to determine how much Iowa, New Hampshire and other early-voting states affected presidential nominations.

Mr. Knight and Mr. Schiff analyzed daily polls in other states before and after an early state had held a contest. The polls tended to change immediately after the contest, and the changes tended to last, which suggested that the early states were even more important than many people realized. The economists estimated that an Iowa or New Hampshire voter had the same impact as five Super Tuesday voters put together.

This system, the two men drily noted in a Journal of Political Economy paper, “represents a deviation from the democratic ideal of ‘one person, one vote.’ ”

A presidential campaign is once again upon us, and Iowa and New Hampshire are again at the center of it all. On Thursday, Mitt Romney will announce his candidacy in Stratham, N.H. Last week, Tim Pawlenty opened his campaign in Des Moines. The two states have dominated the nominating process for so long that it’s easy to think of their role as natural.

But it is not natural. It’s undemocratic, in fact. It is unfair to voters in the other 48 states. And it distorts economic policy in several damaging ways.

Exactly, ethanol exists because of the Iowa Caucus.  You run for President, you sell your economic common sense, your scientific know-how, and previous stances on Ag policy to get the vote of Iowan corn farmers.  And it only gets worse from there.

Their populations are growing more slowly than the rest of the country’s. Residents of Iowa and New Hampshire are more likely to have health insurance. They are older than average. They are more likely to work in manufacturing.

Above all, Iowa and New Hampshire lack a single big city, at a time when large metropolitan areas are crucial to lifting economic growth. Big metro areas are where big ideas most often take shape and great new companies are most often born. The country’s 25 largest areas are responsible for 52 percent of the country’s economic output, according to the Brookings Institution, and are home to 42 percent of the population.

Yet metro areas are also struggling with major problems. The quality of schools is spotty. Commutes last longer than ever. Roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems are aging.

Finally, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have become spoiled in their role of “1st in the Nation” states.  Voters get temperamental with candidates if they haven’t been seen in their state for a few weeks.  The media in those states takes glee in pointing out a candidate isn’t in these two states.

It’s gotten to the point that some Iowans and New Hampshirers (New Hampshirites?  New Hampshirians?) won’t vote for a candidate unless they’ve personally been able to talk with the candidate multiple times.

This is the system we have made for ourselves.  It is flawed, and no one has the stones to change it.

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