It may seem strange for this Carolinian to say so, but I think the news media is again slighting voters in the West because of their fixation on the GOP race in South Carolina to the exclusion of the same-day caucus in Nevada. There are several reasons, I guess. First, like Iowa and New Hampshire, and unlike Wyoming and Nevada, South Carolina is a traditional early-contest state where reporters and producers are used to traveling. They know where to go, whom to talk to. It’s easier.
Second, South Carolina has about two million more people than Nevada, so some consider it a more important electoral prize. But Nevada is significantly more populous than New Hampshire and has grown so rapidly that it’s not that much less populous than Iowa. Obviously, population thresholds don’t really dictate these things. More importantly, Nevada will actually allocate more GOP delegates than South Carolina will if RNC rules are enforced.
Third, the media coverage of the Democratic race is far more extensive than that of the Republican race. On the Democratic side, Nevada is the only contest on Saturday. It’s more convenient for reporters to cover Nevada as the Democratic contest and South Carolina as the Republican one.
Finally, John McCain and Mike Huckabee — candidates the media are simply more interested in — are the leaders in South Carolina. Mitt Romney is the leader in Nevada. Partisans of the latter may consider this to be the major explanation for the slight, though I think it’s just one of the factors. Same effect, though.