Iowans take their "first in the nation" status for their caucuses seriously. If you doubted that, listen to what Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said about Mitt Romney possibly skipping campaigning in his state.
The Des Moines Register notes:
“I understand if you’re from Massachusetts you’re at a disadvantage when you’re competing with people from neighboring states,” Branstad said during his weekly press conference. “Nevertheless, I do think it’s important to compete here. Maybe you don’t have to win, but doing relatively well — and he’s considered the national front-runner – so I think being in the top three is important in Iowa.”
Romney finished second in Iowa in 2008 despite spending a large amount of money and time in the state. There has been much speculation that Romney will forego Iowa this time around to focus on New Hampshire and Florida.