The lesson of history is clear, as our quick-take chart shows: From 1976 to 2008, there has been a major surprise every time either in Iowa or New Hampshire . A back-of-the-pack candidate greatly exceeds expectations. Or the frontrunner stumbles. Or the field is scrambled in some other way.
Helpful chart :
OK, sure, you say. That’s all in our past. We’ve got a much better fix on 2012. We’ve learned from our mistakes. We’ve got daily — sometimes, hourly — polls to keep us on the beam.
And your cloudy Crystal Ball counters with one question: Given the unimpressive record of early nomination predictions from 1976 to 2008, why should we think it will be any different this time?
Cainiacs everywhere, take heart.