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In recent election cycles, the New Hampshire primary has taken place the week after the Iowa caucus.
The community of Dixville Notch traditionally opens its polling place in the ballroom of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel at midnight, usually in front of a crowd of journalists, where the village's handful of voters cast their ballots before the polls close about less than ten minutes later.
Before the Iowa caucus first received national attention in the 1970s (Republicans began caucusing in Iowa in 1976), the New Hampshire primary was the first binding indication of which presidential candidate would receive the party nomination.
In defense of their primary, voters of New Hampshire have tended to downplay the importance of the Iowa caucus.
Since 1952, the primary has been a major testing ground for candidates for both the Republican and Democratic nominations.
The shifts have been to compete with changing primary dates in other states.
The primary dates for 2008 (January 8) and 2012 (January 10) continued the trend - they were held the second Tuesday in January both years.
Candidates who do poorly frequently drop out, while lesser-known, underfunded candidates who do well in New Hampshire suddenly become serious contenders, garnering large amounts of media attention and campaign funding.
It is not a closed primary, in which votes can be cast in a party primary only by people registered with that party, in that state.As a result, the state has moved its primary earlier in the year to remain the first.The primary was held on the following dates: 1952-1968, second Tuesday in March; 1972, first Tuesday in March; 1976–1984, fourth Tuesday in February; 1988–1996, third Tuesday in February; 2000, first Tuesday in February (February 1); 2004, fourth Tuesday in January (January 27)."The people of Iowa pick corn, the people of New Hampshire pick presidents," said then-Governor John H. Since then, the primary has been considered an early measurement of the national attitude toward the candidates for nomination.