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How useful is a ‘Union Leader’ endorsement in N.H.?

Chris Christie.Cheryl Senter/AP

The big news out of New Hampshire this week was the endorsement of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie by the state's largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader of Manchester. The Union Leader is a leading conservative voice in the state, for sure, and its endorsement is much coveted by Republican candidates. But how much sway do its endorsements have? Here's a look at the Republican presidential candidates endorsed by the Union Leader in each of the past 10 contested races, followed by the winner of the New Hampshire GOP primary that year and the eventual Republican presidential nominee.

The Union Leader's candidate doesn't always win — but a 2012 analysis by Nate Silver in The New York Times suggested that the Union Leader endorsement has, in recent contests, often acted as a leading indicator: The endorsed candidates generally did bestter than polling suggested. Does the Union Leader nod help these candidates, or does it simply reflect where voters were otherwise headed? Either way, it's encouraging news for Christie.


What does the Union Leader's endorsement mean for candidates?
Year Endorsed by the Union Leader Winner of the GOP primary Eventual Republican nominee
2012 Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney Mitt Romney
2008 John McCain John McCain John McCain
2000 Steve Forbes John McCain George W. Bush
1996 Pat Buchanan Pat Buchanan Bob Dole
1992 Pat Buchanan George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush
1988 Pete du Pont George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush
1980 Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan
1976 Ronald Reagan Gerald Ford Gerald Ford
1972 John Ashbrook Richard Nixon Richard Nixon
1968 Richard Nixon Richard Nixon Richard Nixon
SOURCE: Sources