The New Hampshire Republican Primary of 2012's date is set at January 10. For a comprehensive list of dates (on issues like corrections and absentee ballots) of the event, click here.
New Hampshire is the first state to hold its primary. Iowa, on Jan. 3, held its caucus, which is different from a primary, although both events seek to determine which candidate the state will support at the Democratic or Republican National Convention.
New Hampshire, a small state, will only send 12 delegates (Iowa is also a small state and has only 28 delegates) in 2012.
To put that into perspective, the Republican National Convention has a total of 2,286 delegates. To win, a candidate needs to secure 1,114 delegates.
The New Hampshire, however, has an outsized influence and is one of the most important states for presidential candidates.
Given its early date, New Hampshire serves as a test of viability and influences outcomes in larger states that have their primaries later.
If a candidate wins, for example, he will get more media coverage. Moreover, he will gain support (votes and donations) from people who want to get behind a candidate capable winning the nomination.
The New Hampshire primary, for example, has been credited as the presaging event that convinced President Lyndon Johnson to drop his re-election bid.
Winning New Hampshire, however, does not guarantee nomination; Hillary Clinton won in 2008 but ultimately lost the Democratic nomination bid to Barack Obama.
Polls indicate that Mitt Romney will likely win the Republican nomination in 2012; the most recent poll from 7 News/Suffolk University has Romney at 43 percent and the latest CNN/ORC International Poll has him at 44 percent (second place Ron Paul is in the teens in both polls).
A PPP poll places Paul more favorably at 21 percent versus 36 percent for Romney.
President Barack Obama, running unopposed, will receive the nomination of the Democratic Party without any contest.
After New Hampshire, South Carolina will hold its primary on January 21.