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Mon, Jan 9, 2012 9:30 AM EST

Iowa and New Hampshire have long played a definitive role in presidential politics. Iowa kicks off the season, with the caucuses that Mitt Romney barely won last week. New Hampshire is fighting proud to be the first in the nation to vote every four years. In both major parties, the way candidates perform in these races determines much about who gets to compete moving forward--the establishment gels around a leader, the big money donors follow and the pressure goes up on everyone else to drop out. Colorlines.com's Shani O. Hilton wrote last month about how distorting this can all be to national politics, because both states are incredibly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. Here, Hatty Lee breaks it down visually in advance of tomorrow's New Hampshire vote.

--Kai Wright

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