New Hampshire is the subject of Palmer's book precisely because it serves as the first presidential primary every four years. Many critics of the New Hampshire primary fault it for being too arcane, too unrepresentative, and too quixotic to use as a gatekeeper of who becomes President. Palmer went to new Hampshire expecting to gather research that argued against New Hampshire as first primary. As he finished he realized his findings pointed out the opposite, that in fact and deed, New Hampshire was as good a place to start the primary races as any other. No single state is representative. The retail politics that aspirants face in New Hampshire is a very useful winnowing device in which a candidate must actually come face to face with real voters, who more often than not make a study of the issues and policies that they raise in their questions.
* Foreword by Stuart Rothenberg * Introduction * Granite State Watersheds, 19161996 * New Hampshire in Profile * Interpretation Games: The News Media in New Hampshire * The Importance of Being Earliest * Conclusion: NASS and Beyond