The RNC rules committee recently voted to 28-12 to set a 2012 primary schedule that affirms New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status. The proposal still needs an OK from the entire convention this year, but I think this is a good start.
I worked with the Ron Paul campaign in New Hampshire and was a meetup organizer here at school in Ohio. The differences were quite large. The people of New Hampshire were generally more aware and open to Ron Paul's message, while everyone seemed so separated from the process in Ohio.
My anecdotal experience confirms what other people have long said: New Hampshire should have the first primary because we honestly care what is going on, it's who we are. Shouldn't those who care have an influential role in the process? I think so.