They take their role in the process very seriously. They expect to have intense conversations with the candidates in living rooms and grocery stores and small town diners.

Because New Hampshire is so small, it doesn’t work to blanket the state with professionally groomed TV commercials. Candidates have to get out in person and engage the public – away from their teleprompters. Facing unimpressed farmers and sharp-tongued

grandmothers, candidates show their true colors.

Candidates such as Rudy Guiliani – who in 2008 decided to skip New Hampshire and focus on South Carolina – learned the hard way that it’s vital shake hands with voters in Concord coffee shops. Munching on cookies and coffee in a Manchester living room may not seem as efficient as sending out clever Tweets or posting well-produced commercials to YouTube. However, New Hampshire voters expect it.

And the candidate they choose gets the momentum.

And massive infusions of money.

So, that’s why New Hampshire is the most important primary in the nation. Campaigners tell about a New Hampshire voter who was asked what she thought of the presidential candidate with whom she had just shaken hands.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I’ve only met him three times.”

Over the decades, New Hampshire voters there have grown proud of their role – deciding who will advance to the next round and who will not.

They meet the candidates face to face and listen to whether hopefuls can answer questions honestly while looking Grandma, Sadie the waitress and Joe the mechanic in the eye.

While the entire world watches.