Monday, November 28, 2011

Picking apart the effectiveness of Union Leader endorsements

New Hampshire State Flag, Source: Wikipedia

Each presidential primary the Union-Leader newspaper endorses a candidate. The 2012 GOP candidate they have selected is Newt Gingrich. But is the Union Leader effective in picking the winning candidates?

Their past endorsements with the New Hampshire winners in blue.

Union Leader Endorsements
2008- John McCain
2004- (incumbent year for George W. Bush)
2000- Steve Forbes
1996- Pat Buchanan
1992- Pat Buchanan
1988- Pete duPont
1984- (incumbent year for Ronald Reagan)
1980- Ronald Reagan
1976- Ronald Reagan
1972- John Ashbrook
1968- Richard Nixon

The Union Leader's pick only won 4 times out of 9. But how many times did the Union Leader endorsement pick the national nomination winner? (answers above in red) 3 times out of 9 (Nixon, Reagan, McCain). Or in other words, they lost more than they won.

Just for fun let's see how many times did the New Hampshire primary picked the national nominee?

New Hampshire Primary Winners - (names in red show the national GOP nominee)
2008- John McCain
2004- (incumbent year)
2000- George W. Bush
1996- Pat Buchanan
1992- (incumbent year)
1988- George H.W. Bush
1984- (incumbent year)
1980- Ronald Reagan
1976- Ronald Reagan
1972- Gerald Ford
1968- Richard Nixon

If we take out incumbent years New Hampshire was indicative of the national winner six out of 8 times. They were only wrong about Ford beating Reagan in 1976, and Buchanan in 96.

It is also interesting to note that the GOP New Hampshire primary picked the overall national winner five times out of eight. And the Union Leader? They managed to endorse the overall national winner two times out of nine.

In short, is the Union Leader effective in influencing the winner of the New Hampshire primary? Not really, with only 30%. And they are really not effective at influencing who the national GOP nominee will be. But it is significant that the voters of New Hampshire are frequently right about who the national nominee and the national winner will be!

In other words, Gingrich shouldn't be getting too excited about winning this endorsement.

SOURCE: Red State "The Union Leader's Endorsement Record"
And several different Wikipedia pages, and the author's own memory.

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