2009 April 06 Monday
Early Primary States Get More US Federal Aid

If you vote early for the winner your state will get more bucks from the government.

The 2008 presidential campaign season had the earliest statewide primaries and caucuses in memory, starting with the Iowa Caucus on Jan. 3. Now research from North Carolina State University shows that states may have good reason to push for an early contest. States that hold early presidential primaries or caucuses get a larger share of per capita federal procurement spending compared to other states, the new study says. But being early is not enough, study author Dr. Andrew Taylor says states must also pick the winner.

"Obviously this has real-world ramifications," Taylor says. "Here is some evidence that order does matter, and that there is some incentive for states to try to move forward in the presidential nomination process."

Evaluating data from 1984 through 2004, the new report finds that the earlier a state holds its primary or caucus, the more federal procurement funding it receives per capita as long as it backed the candidate who ultimately won the White House. Taylor explains that states receive minimal benefit if they vote early but back a candidate who ultimately drops out of the race or loses the election. Federal procurement is federal funding for goods and services, such as defense contracts.

States that hold later contests, after the field of candidates has been narrowed, have a better chance at picking the winning candidate. But Taylor says that advantage is effectively negated, because states with later primaries or caucuses won't receive much - if any - added benefit for backing the winner.

For example, Taylor's research shows that "If the first state chooses the ultimately victorious presidential candidate in a competitive nomination ... it receives $35.29 more in procurement per capita than if it had picked a loser." In comparison, the benefit if the eighth state picks the eventual winner would be approximately $22.05 more in procurement per capita. Beyond the ninth contest, Taylor says, the benefits are no longer statistically significant.

Pretty small winnings though.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 April 06 11:10 PM  Politics Money

Anonymous said at April 7, 2009 4:07 PM:

Right. A payoff country. Explain to me how I'm supposed to respect a country like that. I don't. I don't respect the country I live in and am a citizen of. If I knew where to go, I think I would make the jump and leave. Where is there a country as honest as I am ?

Steve Johnson said at April 7, 2009 8:04 PM:

The interesting thing is actually the reverse of the study.

It shows how low power the elected parts of the government are compared to the permanent government. You get a small bump for being essential to the election of the president.

$35.29 per voter, the alleged owners of the government.

Compare to the year in and year out guaranteed employment for people working for the government. What's a 45k per year lifetime annuity that comes with health insurance worth?

Randall Parker said at April 7, 2009 8:56 PM:

Steve, Yes, the vote really isn't worth that much. A few tens of dollars. Not worth my time.

I think it is worth more to invest in learning how to avoid the reach of the Leviathan. Learn tax law for example.

miles said at April 8, 2009 9:15 AM:

Politicians seeking "momentum" in early primaries promise these states a great deal hoping for early votes that get them ahead in polls................so people in larger states that come later in the primary process will associate them with being "winners". They have to deliver on a few of these promises of course, hence some of the pork that has went Iowa and New Hampshire's way.

This has been going on for a while unfortunately.

I think the primaries should all be grouped to be held on about four different days------------so as to lessen the media's influence over them and to let people just decide on who they like the best instead of trying to vote for the winner, etc.

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