Thursday, February 19, 2009

The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (2/19/09)

For the most up-to-date version of this calendar see the left sidebar under the 2012 electoral college projection or click here.

With Arkansas making the state's presidential primary move from February to May official, FHQ is compelled to update the 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar. Now, I should add that I'm going to leave these updates somewhat messy on purpose to provide as much detail as possible. The "clean" version -- the version with the calendar as it currently stands -- will always be in the side bar. [The side bar calendar will also have a link to the most current "messy" version of the 2012 calendar at the bottom.] Here, then, are the caveats to what you see below:
  1. Caucus states are italicized while primary states are not.
  2. States that have changed dates appear twice on the calendar; once by the old date and once by the new date. The old date will be struck through while the new date will be color-coded with the amount of movement (in days) in parentheses. States in green are states that have moved to earlier dates on the calendar and states in red are those that have moved to later dates. Arkansas, for example, has moved its 2012 primary and moved it back 104 days.
  3. You'll also see that some of the states on the calendar are live links. These are links to active legislation that would shift the date on which that state's presidential primary would be held in 2012. That allows us to track the status of the legislation more easily.

2012 Presidential Primary Calendar

Monday, January 16, 2012: Iowa caucuses*

Tuesday, January 24
: New Hampshire*

Saturday, January 28: Nevada caucuses*, South Carolina*

A note on the placement of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Tuesday, January 31
: Florida

Tuesday, February 7 (Super Tuesday): Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah

Saturday, February 11: Louisiana

Tuesday, February 14: Maryland, Virginia

Tuesday, February 21: Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 28: Arizona**, Michigan***

Tuesday, March 6: Massachusetts***, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont

Tuesday, March 13: Mississippi

Tuesday, March 20: Colorado caucuses****

Tuesday, April 24: Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 8: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia

Tuesday, May 15: Nebraska, Oregon

Tuesday, May 22: Arkansas (-104), Idaho, Kentucky

Tuesday, June 5: Montana, New Mexico***** and South Dakota

*New Hampshire law calls for the Granite state to hold a primary on the second Tuesday of March or seven days prior to any other similar election, whichever is earlier. Florida is first now, so New Hampshire would be a week earlier at the latest. Traditionally, Iowa has gone on the Monday a week prior to New Hampshire. For the time being we'll wedge Nevada and South Carolina in on the Saturday between New Hampshire and Florida, but these are just guesses at the moment. Any rogue states could cause a shift.

**In Arizona the governor can use his or her proclamation powers to move the state's primary to a date on which the event would have an impact on the nomination. In 2004 and 2008 the primary was moved to the first Tuesday in February.

***Massachusetts and Michigan are the only states that passed a frontloading bill prior to 2008 that was not permanent. The Bay state reverts to its first Tuesday in March date in 2012 while Michigan will fall back to the fourth Tuesday in February.

****The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties have the option to move their caucuses from the third Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February.

*****The law in New Mexico allows the parties to decide when to hold their nominating contests. The Democrats have gone in early February in the last two cycles, but the GOP has held steady in June. They have the option of moving however.

Recent Posts:
Beebe's Signature Makes It Official: Arkansas Back to May

North Carolina Bill to Move 2012 Primary to February

1988 Presidential Primary Calendar


Anonymous said...

From December 2007 to March 2008, I wrote various drafts of a proposal on how our political parties -- starting in 2012 -- might adopt primary election procedures that would better serve our country in selecting presidential candidates. I originally drafted a hypothetical calendar for 2008, based on general election results from 2004. Now that we have the results for 2008, I can now propose a calendar specific to 2012.

The system by which our parties choose their presidential candidates has proven itself to be, at best, highly questionable -- at worst, severely flawed.

The primary calendar we need most is one that is built on an orderly and rational plan -- one that is based on mathematics and on recent historical outcomes -- and not on an arbitrary, publicity-driven, system of one-upsmanship. The change I propose would provide for a more effective, equitable process than the one we have now.

The following factors are the key ones to consider:

Margin of Victory

- The state primaries would be placed in order according to the leading candidates' margins of victory in the preceding general election -- with the states registering the closest margins of victory going first.

For example, John McCain won Missouri by 0.1% and Barack Obama won North Carolina by 0.4%; conversely, McCain won Wyoming by 33%, and Obama won Hawaii by 45%. Therefore, the primary calendar I propose would commence with primaries being held in states such as Missouri and North Carolina -- and would close with such states as Wyoming and Hawaii.

- The purpose of ordering the states according to the margin of victory is to help the parties determine which candidates can appeal to those states that have found themselves most recently on the Electoral Divide. A narrow margin in the general election is reflective of an evenly divided electorate. In this scenario, a candidate who appeals to, say, Florida and Montana is more likely to appeal to a greater number of Americans on the whole.

Iowa, New Hampshire, and Fairness

- Iowa and New Hampshire might object to this new system, given their longstanding tradition of being the first states to cast their ballots. However, so long as Iowa and New Hampshire retain their record of being fairly bipartisan states, they'll maintain their position towards the front of the primary schedule.

- Just because a state should have its primary later in the season does not mean that that state will prove invaluable to the process. Indiana and North Carolina weren't held until May 6th, but those two states might have very well decided the fate of the 2008 Democratic nomination.

- This new system allows other states to play a greater role in how the parties select their candidates. For example, Missouri and North Carolina would be two of the states to get the limelight in 2012. Likewise, based on the results to come in November of 2012, a still-different slate of states could have a more significant role come 2016. A rotating system will be healthier and fairer.

Groupings of Five, and Timing & Spacing

- By placing states into groupings of five, no one state will be overly emphasized on any given date.

- Candidates will still need to address the concerns of individual states, whilst having to maintain an overall national platform. For example, a candidate will be less able to campaign against NAFTA in Ohio whilst campaigning for it in Florida.

- Given that each state has its own system for electing its delegates, these groupings of five states will act as an overall balancer. Ideally, caucuses will be done away with altogether by 2012. However -- should that not happen -- states with caucuses, states with open primaries, and states with closed primaries can all coexist within a grouping, therefore no one system will hold too much influence on any given date.

- Racial and geographic diversity in this process has been a great concern for many. The narrowest margins of victory in 2008 were in a wide variety of regions -- the Midwest, the Great Lakes, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the West.

- All parties would have an interest in addressing these narrow-margined states early on. The incumbent will want to win over those states that were most in doubt of him in the previous election, and opposing parties will want to put forth candidates who have the best chance of winning over those very same states.

- Primaries will be held biweekly, giving candidates and the media enough time to process and respond to the outcomes of each wave of primaries.

- Washington DC will be placed in the same grouping as whichever state -- Virginia or Maryland -- is closer to its own margin of victory.

- American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Americans Abroad -- not having Electoral votes of their own -- will determine their own primary dates, so long as they occur between the first grouping and the last grouping.

Under these guidelines, the proposed calendar for the 2012 primary season is:

January 2012

Tue, 1/10

North Carolina

Tue, 1/24

South Dakota

Tue, 2/7

North Dakota
South Carolina
New Hampshire

Tue, 2/21

West Virginia

Tue, 2/26

New Jersey
New Mexico

Tue, 3/6


Tue, 3/20


Tue, 4/3

Washington DC

Tue, 4/17

New York
Rhode Island

Tue, 5/1


Anonymous said...

My response went on a bit, so I've put it in its own post.