As a result, in a presidential cycle when a Democratic president is

unopposed for re-election, the big news is who will win the Republican nomination – and all the “undeclared” vote in the Republican primary. However, if a Republican president has no challengers, the “undeclared” participate in the Democratic race.

Without a doubt, success or failure in New Hampshire can make or break or revive a candidate. Analysts show a win in New Hampshire boosts a candidate’s share of the final primary count in all the other states by 27 percentage points.

In 1992, Bill Clinton, although he did not win, did better than expected with his team dubbing him the “Comeback Kid” and propelling him to success in other primaries.

A New Hampshire win does not guarantee a nomination. Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama each finished second in the New Hampshire vote before later being elected to the White House.

Moose Alley

The first New Hampshire presidential primary was held in 1916, but it did not gain national importance until 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower trounced the grandson of former President William Howard Taft, Robert A. “Mr. Republican” Taft, who had been favored for the nomination.

Many New Hampshire winners have failed to win the party nomination: Harold Stassen in 1948, Estes Kefauver in 1952 and 1956, Henry Cabot Lodge in 1964, Paul Tsongas in 1992, Pat Buchanan in 1996 and Hillary Clinton in 2008.

The primary also attracts a number of fringe candidates. Although only the top seven or eight get much attention, 30 Republicans and 14 Democrats are running for president in the New Hampshire primary this year, the largest number since 1992 when 62 candidates ran.

It only costs $1,000 fee to get on the ballot – compared to $35,000 inSouth Carolina. For 2012, the choices include Democratic presidential candidate Bob Greene, who tells the press he is focusing on the one issue that he believes will address national security, jobs and the trade imbalance, all at once: a new form of nuclear power — thorium. His “Project Thor” would put a fresh focus on this overlooked element that he says could satisfy the nation’s energy needs for 1,000 years.

Timothy Brewer tells crowds that speaking with the Almighty through “afterlife orbs” will solve the world’s problems. Ed O’Donnell calls for a return to good manners.Kentuckyairline pilot Christopher Hill says he’s proud to be “a lesser-known candidate” since he stands for “lesser-known Americans.”

Republican hopeful and Ohio home-builder John Davis travels to campaign sites in an RV which is emblazoned with a billboard-sized

photo of himself. He stands for mandatory tooth brushing and promises a pony for every American.

Vintage postcard of New Hampshire's "Beer Bottle car"

Some years ago, the late Mike Royko, the late, legendary Chicago newspaper columnist, was assigned to cover theNew Hampshireprimary and refused.

“So here we have a tiny state, smaller than many American cities,” he wrote. ”It`s a state that doesn`t reflect the ethnic, racial, religious or economic makeup of the rest of the country.

“But every four years we are told that this dinky state`s primary is one of the key events — maybe the key event — in the nominating process.

“Just look at the record of winners of this all-important primary. In 1952 and 1956, Estes Kefauver. In 1972, Edmund Muskie. And in 1984, Gary Hart. How is that for being launched toward greatness?

“So why is New Hampshire so important when it really isn’t?”

Dartmouth College

Simple: A New Hampshire win generates money from across the nation. Tons of it from deep-pocketed donors who have been sitting back and waiting to see who will rise to the top.

“Winners tend to quickly attract more money and media coverage and the ‘losers’ tend to find it hard to raise money and attract the media.” explains Paul Barresi, chairman of Southern New Hampshire University’s political science department.

But it’s more than that: “New Hampshireis a small state, relatively rural and not demographically representative of the country as a whole in terms of race and ethnicity,” said Barresi. “On the other hand, people who live inNew Hampshire are more civically engaged than most Americans and are more politically aware.”