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VERIFY: What's all the hype about winning the New Hampshire Primary, and does it actually matter?

As an "early state," New Hampshire's primary gets a lot of attention nationwide. But do the results really merit such attention? We look at the numbers.

WASHINGTON — Question: 

Does the New Hampshire primary, more often than not, predict the eventual nominee?


Yes. Of the 24 candidates that have won the New Hampshire primary, since 1972, 17 of them would go on to win the nomination. 


Office of New Hampshire's Secretary of State



The Verify Team looked back to 1972, compiling a list of every single winner of New Hampshire's primary, from both parties. Of those 24, we broke down which of the candidates went on to get the nomination, and which did not. 

The data showed that 17 of the 24 did, in fact, go on to win the nomination, which is just under 71 percent. 

Only seven went on to lose the nomination. (Edmund Muski - '72, Gary Hart - '84, Paul Tsongas - '92, Patrick Buchanan - '96, John McCain - '00, Hillary Clinton - '08, Bernie Sanders - '16). 

The Verify team also broke down the total by party, finding that the New Hampshire primary has been a significantly better predictor for Republican candidates. 

Of the 12 Democrats that won the New Hampshire primary, seven would go on to win the nomination, which is a little over 58 percent. Meanwhile, ten of the 12 Republican winners of the New Hampshire primary, would go on to be the nominee, which is more than 83%. 

The Verify team also looked at the rate, when the eight incumbent candidates were removed. (Richard Nixon - '72, Gerald Ford - '76, Jimmy Carter - '80, Ronald Reagan - '84, George H.W. Bush - '92, Bill Clinton - '96, George W. Bush - '04, Barack Obama - '12). 

With incumbents removed, the New Hampshire remained a predictor, but at a lower rate. Nine out of the 16 non-incumbent winners would go on to win the nomination, which comes out to just over 56 percent. 

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