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One good reason is that they're reasonably predictive of who wins the primary. About 50-60% of national poll leaders at this point in the campaign won.
Another good reason is that they're more reflective of Democratic voters overall, who are 40% nonwhite, than Iowa and New Hampshire, which are very white. If the media truly gave SC/NV coequal billing with IA/NH, that would obviate the need somewhat, but they don't.
p.s. If you look at *all 4* early states as a group, they look quite similar to national polls, especially if you weight by the number of voters or delegates they have. Buttigieg maybe a hair stronger in the early states (although weak in SC) but pretty minor differences overall.
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