An analysis by Yvonne Abraham in the Boston Globe suggests the reason for the importance of Kerry’s NH victory:
That is where momentum comes in. Kerry was nowhere in Arizona until he won the Iowa caucuses. But an Arizona Republic poll Sunday showed him leading the field. Because the primary calendar is so short this year (a compression championed by Democratic National Committee chief Terry McAuliffe, in the hopes of quickly uniting the party behind the nominee), bounce will count for a great deal more than in previous years. Although states with earlier primaries, eager for the courting enjoyed by the first two primary states, were all too happy to oblige McAuliffe, the compressed calendar has left precious little time for the wooing, and effectively increased the clout of New Hampshire and Iowa.
Slammed tight together with no time for breath, let alone reflection, voters will tend to go with the flow–and the winner-on-paper. Abraham quotes a voter who is, unfortunately, thinking exactly as I feared voters might be thinking–wait for the winner to emerge and then vote for him:
In Missouri, barber Lee Moss certainly wasn’t committing to anyone before he knew last night’s results. “If you go to a racetrack and see all the horses lined up, the one that [looks like he will be] first isn’t the one that is necessarily going to win,” Moss said in his Webster Groves shop late last week. “I’m still waiting to see what happens in New Hampshire.”
Told ya. Are we doomed yet?