MANCHESTER, N.H. - More than geography changes when the 2008 presidential campaign leaves the land of flat -- aka Iowa -- for New Hampshire, the Granite State.

The electorate is different, and so is the blend of issues.

That may be why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's made-for-Iowa TV ad tagline, "Christian leader," has yet to make the trip east of the Mississippi. In New England, he's a conservative leader.

And why Ron Paul, as close to a libertarian as there is in the Republican race, may yet prove a spoiler in a state with the motto of "Live Free or Die."

Or why Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, could yet have cause to wonder why he told Iowans that they could decide who wins the party's nomination and the White House in 2008.

"The people of New Hampshire pay attention to Iowa, but it's not the determining factor," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona observed recently.

That's a diplomatic way of saying New Hampshire primary voters refuse to rubber-stamp decisions made in Iowa.

Truth be told, they specialize in humbling the mighty.

Think back to 2000, when George W. Bush roared out of Iowa, only to lose New Hampshire by a whopping 19 percentage points to McCain.

Only twice since 1976 has the same Democrat won both Iowa and New Hampshire in a contested nominating campaign. And for all the boasting that Granite Staters do about picking presidents, both Al Gore and John Kerry went on to lose the general election.

Overall, New Hampshire is more independent-heavy than Iowa. About 40 percent of the electorate, they outnumber registered Republicans and Democrats. They are free to vote in either party's race, a fact that complicates any pre-primary predictions.

Another difference from Iowa?

New Hampshire has a straight-forward, daylong secret ballot election on Tuesday in which voters go to the polls at the time of their choosing.

associated press