1. What is the history of your state's presidential selection system since 1968 for both major parties?
Construct a table with the following information:
Type of Presidential Selection System (Caucus, Primary)
Date of event
Results of event
You must report the results of both major parties. You may decide to construct separate charts for the Democrats and Republicans. Or, you could simply put two rows in your chart for each year (e.g. Democrats 1960; Republicans 1960). It would depend entirely on what you find in your research. If both parties are very similar, it might make sense to do one table for instance.
State Secretaries of State usually are in charge of running all state-wide elections. The National Association of State Secretaries (NASS) has a table of links to state Secretaries of State where you can usually find details about how current elections are to be run. NASS 2012 Presidential Primaries Guide is a pdf document that has state-by-state details of how primaries are conducted in the states that have them.
There is a table for State Methods for Choosing National Convention Delegates, 1968–2008 in CQ's Vital Statistics on American Politics. Look at the footnotes for an explanation of the abbreviations.
Use the State Methods table above to identify any years where the process changed. The most detailed explanation of how primaries were to be conducted and delegates divided in specific years by state is in the print government document published each presidential election year from 1960 to 1994: Nomination and election of the President and Vice President of the United States, including the manner of selecting delegates to national political convention. Follow the instructions in the link for searching congressional documents by congress. The 2000 pdf version and the 2008. For these two years, use the binocular icon on the left of the page and search the state name and the word delegates, for example, "Texas delegates", to get to the section that explains how delegates are selected.
Guide to U.S. Elections has historical tables of primary and election results by state. It also has a chapter on "Nominating Conventions" that explains how the number of delegates from a state are determined by the Democratic and Republican parties.
CQ's Vital Statistics on American Politics. has historical tables of primary and election results.
The Green Papers has details on the 2008 elections as well as an archive on elections going back to the 2000 election.
States that hold caucuses do not always (or sometimes ever) report results of a caucus because of the role it plays only at the beginning of a state party process of delegate selection.
Statistics for presidential primaries by state can be found in the print reference book America Votes in both Paley Library and Ambler Library Reference Departments at call number JK1967.A8
America at the polls : a handbook of American presidential election statistics Paley Reference JK524.A73 and Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. elections JK1967.C662 1994 go back to 1956.
CQ Weekly (aka Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report) reports on primaries and caucuses and has been doing so since 1956. The print is kept in Government Documents in the compact shelving at the end of the Government Documents. Each year has an index to articles. 1983 to the present is online.
The book National party conventions, 1831-2004 in the Reference Department at call number JK2255 .N373 2005 lists the number of delegates to the party conventions and their votes for candidates there.
2. What has been the influence of your state in the presidential nominating system?
Does your state have a bigger say in the fortunes of one party over the other? (For this, you should calculate the percentage of delegates your state sends to each party's convention for each year).
What does your state's size have to do with its influence?
What does the timing of your state's nominating event have to do with its importance?
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. elections JK1967.C662 1994 in Paley Reference and the online Guide to U.S. Elections has tables of delegate votes (hence, number of delegates) by state for the convention years.
CQ Weekly (aka Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report) reports on Democratic and Republican conventions and has been doing so since 1956. The print is kept in Government Documents in the compact shelving at the end of the Government Documents. Each year has an index to articles. 1983 to the present is online. Look around the dates of the conventions for special issues. 1996 and onwards have profiles of each state and the the number of delegate votes assigned to the state.
The New York Times Election Guide has a running tally of delegates by state. State result pages explain how delegates are divided (Iowa, for example.) It's not an exact science and other news organizations count delegates differently.
A Google search on the terms "primary importance [name of state]" is not a bad way to drop into the topic, but look at the source of information carefully. You will run into all sorts of blogs here.
3. What sort of campaigning takes place in your state for the presidential nomination?
How much time do the candidates tend to spend there?
Do any candidates ignore the state entirely?
Is the campaign "retail" or "mass media"?
Politico 2012 Live has a page called Candidate Tracker which has analysis of campaign stops and swings and allows you to track candidates.
Proquest Newsstand- searches for newspaper articles from around the world. You can limit the search to sources from or about a particular country, state or city. The daily and archives of articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer (1983-present) and Philadelphia Daily News both come through Proquest Newsstand.
A Google search on the terms "primary presidential campaigning [name of state]" is not a bad way to drop into the topic, but you have to look at and think about the quality of the source of the information and/or opinion.
4. Does your state have any special demographic characteristics for either party that garners it special attention now or in the past?
The National Journal has a biannual publication called the Almanac of American Politics that profiles states and their demographic and political climate back to 1998 online (click on National Journal, then click on the tab "Almanac.") Past Almanacs are online back to 1998. It is also in book-form in Paley Library in the Stacks back to 1972 at call number JK1012.A44
Political Maps has some interesting graphics for primary results that might go well with the Almanac profiles. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections also has primary results in maps back to 2000.
There is a blog that identifies and keeps a watch on Democratic Superdelegates by state who have and have and have not committed to a candidate.
State Secretaries of State usually are in charge of running all state-wide elections. The National Association of State Secretaries (NASS) has a nice pdf table calendar of presidential primaries and delegate allocation.