Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Hey Nate, Try This Sports/Politics Analogy

Senate Update: The Clock Is Ticking


                Let’s venture into the sweet spot, where sports and politics interest.

                I confess to being a recovering sports junkie.  I wrote sports for my high school paper (The Commodore’s Comments…I kid you not).  I broadcast seven sports in college, and am one of the few non-athletes to be inducted into the Plymouth State Sports Hall of Fame.  Until someone claims otherwise, I’m going to take credit as being the first person to broadcast a soccer game (my favorite sport) on a commercial radio station in New Hampshire.

                I’ve spent far too many hours of my life rooting for a particular team and only recently, thanks in a large part to the World Cup, discovered that one can enjoy a sporting event, perhaps even more, by not caring who wins (I have zero interest in rooting for either team in the World Series).

                But enough on sports.  Regular readers should know that I’m far more a political than a sports junkie these days.

                That’s why I love it when Five Thirty Eight’s Nate Silver (a far better political than World Cup prognosticator) peppers his political commentary with sports analogies.

                Last week, in writing about the New Hampshire Senate race, Silver referred to how a team trailing by ten points in the third quarter would actually not improve its chances of winning much if it moved within seven points entering the final quarter.  It makes sense—less time to catch up.

                 Here's how Silver phrased it:  "Yep, time for another sports analogy. Say an NFL team leads 17-7 and has the ball at its own 20-yard line to start the third quarter. Its win probability is 83 percent. The third quarter is a bit wild, but the same team leads 27-20 at the end of it. Although its lead has narrowed, its win probability will have barely budged (it’s about 81 percent at the start of the fourth quarter) because there’s less time for the trailing team to complete a comeback".

                That’s all fine and good, I thought, but there’s an even better sports analogy that could well come into play as these United States Senate races, including the hotly contested Scott Brown/Jeanne Shaheen race, head into the final two weeks.

                In sports, especially in football, the problem is scoring too soon.  Let’s say a team is down by five points with two minutes to go; it scores a touchdown to move two points ahead but leaves a minute on the clock and the opponent comes back to kick a field goal in the final seconds.

                That happens all the time (it nearly happened to the Patriots against the Jets last Thursday night).

                In politics, the problem is peaking too soon.  Scott Brown cut a ten point lead in half and then cut it in half again with two weeks left on the clock.  Would it be good or bad for him to take the lead in the next few days? 

                One could argue that, in fact, it would be a bad thing, that he might be peaking too soon.  It would be far better to be within a point going into that final weekend and then hit the field goal as time runs out.

                That’s not the only race in which this analogy could come into play.  In North Carolina, Kay Hagan undoubtedly peaked a few weeks ago.  Her four point lead is down to just over a point, and even Five Thirty Eight thinks she might be in trouble as Thom Tillis lines up for that last second field goal.  (I understand  Hagan is faced with a financial “scandal” in these final days, something about her husband retaining stimulus money when a project came in under budget).

                In Kansas, clearly Independent Greg Orman peaked too soon.  He was ahead by ten points, including in an NBC poll which Chuck Todd insisted on highlighting  on Meet the Press last week to the exclusion of all other polls which show the race now dead even (shame on you Chuck; maybe it’s time to bring back David Gregory).  Pundits on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning seemed to think Senator Pat Roberts is lining up that last minutes field goal (my analogy not theirs).  In fact, Silver himself has dropped Orman’s advantage to 54-46. 

                Applying our sports analogy to Kansas, Pat Roberts seems to be in just the right position on the field as the clock winds down.

                The same might apply in Georgia where Michelle Nunn has pulled to within less than appoint of David Perdue.  But is she peaking too soon, scoring with too much time left on the clock.

                To be fair to Democrats (and I always try to be fair), the peaked too soon analogy might, just might, apply to Republicans Joni Ernst in Kansas and Cory Gardner in Colorado…although Colorado incumbent Tom “Uterus” Udall (hey, Huff Post PC police, don’t blame me; I’m only parroting what I’ve heard often this past week) seems to be fumbling at every opportunity rather than setting up for a late field.  Yesterday, he couldn’t even name three books which most influenced his life or even the latest music he’d listened to, and it wasn’t Fox News which pointed out this blunder but rather the liberal Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

                Fumbles trump clock management any day, and Udall can’t seem to keep his hands on the ball.  As for Joni Ernst, who knows?  The “scoring too soon” sports analogy needs to play out…in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in North Carolina, in Georgia and probably in other states Nate Silver would be better at diagnosing.

                Extra dose of trivia—what one book did Udall come up with?  Hint—it most assuredly was not written by JFK!

                Off the top of my head, for fiction, I’d go with “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “Huck Finn” and “The Cider House Rules.”   For non-fiction-- “The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”, Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington, and “Redeeming the Dream”,  the new Ted Olson/David Boies book on the marriage equality struggle.

                Feel free to claim them as your own, Senator Uterus.


Chuck Todd Is Doing Worse Than David Gregory As Meet ...
Sep 25, 2014 - It may seem hard to believe but minus the first week where he had an interview with President Obama, Chuck Todd's ratings on Meet The Press ...

Media Watch--Fox Blows Pistorius Verdict; CNN Dishes Dish



CNN and several other Turner-owned cable channels have disappeared from Dish Network ...



                If you were watching Fox News as Judge Thokozile Masipa read the verdict live from South Africa last night, for a few minutes you might have though Oscar The Blade Runner Pistorius got off with no jail time.

                I may be the only one who caught this, but I’m just as sure about it as I was when Red Eye reported about a survey two weeks ago that shows unattractive candidates might be at as much as a seven percent disadvantage over the more attractive, a note that sparked my controversial Kuster/Garcia blog.

                In fact, it was while watching Red Eye last night (at 3:30 a.m.) that I was switched to South Africa for the hour-long reading of the verdict, not exactly thrilling middle of the night TV but I was fascinated by it.

                At around 4:20 a.m., the judge was alluding to other cases the defense had asked her to consider in sentencing.  She read verbatim that the accused in one of the cases was given a suspended sentence, and within moments, whoever was in charge of graphics at Fox News had typed out a chyron (one of those notes at the bottom of the screen) that Pistorius had received a suspended sentence.

                I was wide enough awake to say to myself, “What are they (Fox News) talking about.  The judge is reading from another case.  How stupid can these people be?”

                Sure enough, I switched over to MSNBC and there was no such graphic.   (Apparently CNN is feuding with the Dish—I’m one of 14 million subscribers—and while CNN channels, like HLN, are off the Dish, we’re getting MSNBC instead, a market improvement in my opinion—I long ago gave up on HLN and Nancy disgrace).

                Anyway, I switched back to Fox to see how long the erroneous chyron would remain up.

                It was only a few minutes, but I was left wondering how a major network could get it so wrong.

                This was not the first time Fox has embarrassed itself, and I’m not talking about its extreme right wing unfair and unbalanced bias.

                A year or so ago, I was watching Shep Smith in the afternoon; he was covering one of those car chases when all of a sudden, the driver got out of the car and blew his brains out live on TV coast to coast.  So much for the seven second delay.

                At least, Shep had the good grace to apologize.  Wanna bet that no one of Fox deems an apology necessary for it 4:20 a.m. blunder last night?

                In fact, I’m wondering if any other media will pick up on it.

                As for the verdict, Judge Masipa seemed to be covering all the bases, tempering the need for mercy and rehabilitation with the need to send a message that such murders cannot be tolerated.

                She had the option of zero to 15 years prison time and settled on five; I thought something in the seven to ten year range seemed appropriate, but hey, I’m not South African and should avoid bringing  an American bias to the story.

                MSNBC, heads and shoulders better than Fox (and I’m a conservative) reported that the prosecution would appeal the sentence if it came down at less than ten years, certainly not the kind of thing that could happen in America, but I repeat, we must avoid looking at this through American eyes.

                The real story is that Fox News once again proved totally incompetent in covering a major event.

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years for girlfriend's killing

Reuters on · 9 hours ago
Image: Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in a picture from Facebook.  (Facebook)
  • The 'Blade Runner' has been sentenced to five years in prison for the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.


If Politics Were Limbo, Democrats Would Be In Great Shape

If we were playing the limbo, Barack Obama and his Democrats would be in great shape...because he's going lower and lower, in both the country and New Hamsphire.  To paraphrase Finley Peter Dunne ("politics ain't beanball"), I feel the need to say that "poliitics ain't limbo".  

Finley Peter Dunne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The fictional Mr. Dooley expounded upon political and social issues of the day .... of the aphorism "politics ain't beanbag", referring to the rough side of political ..

How low can you go is clearly not the game we play here.  

Even Rasmussen has Obama down six points today; were we to remove Rasmussen from the Real Clear Politics data, the President would be at minus 13.2 (79 divided by 6); as it is, he's minus 12.2.  As if that's not bad enough for Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea Porter, and Annie Kuster, Obama has slipped to minus 14.6 here in New Hampshire (with more Ebola yet to be baked into the numbers).

Remember a few weeks ago (I was in Montreal when I wrote it), I referred to minus 13 as a benchmark; above that Obama number and Democrats could likely survive, at least to some degree; below that and they're paddling in troubled waters.

Can anyone spell the words b-l-o-o-d b-a-t-h?  

To borrow from the year's best commerical, "Close enough".  

No wonder Shaheen is on record saying that Obama is too busy in D.C. to make it up here to New Hampshire prior to November 4.  

What a fun game--How far and fast can Democrats run from the man they were voting with 99 percent of the time just a few years ago?  

It's actually actually quite comical to watch a newly coiffed Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the curls are gone!) try to spin this crap into gold as she attempted to do yesterday on Fox News Sunday.

Self deceit is the worst kind of deceit. 


In what has to be the TV booking of week amongst the Sunday's shows, “Fox News Sunday” ..



Obama Nationwide Approval

National PollDateSampleApproveDisapproveSpread
RCP Average 10/8 - 10/19 -- 41.4 53.6 -12.2
Gallup 10/17 - 10/19 1500 A 40 55 -15
Rasmussen Reports 10/17 - 10/19 1500 LV 46 52 -6
FOX News 10/12 - 10/14 831 LV 39 53 -14
Reuters/Ipsos 10/11 - 10/15 1722 A 39 53 -14
The Economist/YouGov 10/11 - 10/13 710 RV 45 53 -8
ABC News/Wash Post 10/9 - 10/12 629 LV 39 57 -18
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 10/8 - 10/12 1000 RV 42 52 -10

All President Obama Job Approval Polling Data

President Obama Job Approval in New Hampshire

RCP Average 9/29 - 10/19 -- 40.2 54.8 -14.6
Suffolk/Boston Herald 10/16 - 10/19 500 LV 40 56 -16
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 322 LV 38 57 -19
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 1081 LV 44 52 -8
High Point/SurveyUSA 10/4 - 10/8 824 LV 41 54 -13
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 681 A 38 55 -17

2014 Generic Congressional Vote

Polling Data

PollDateSampleRepublicans (R)Democrats (D)Spread
RCP Average 10/3 - 10/19 -- 46.6 43.2 Republicans +3.4
Rasmussen Reports 10/13 - 10/19 3500 LV 41 41 Tie
FOX News 10/12 - 10/14 831 LV 45 42 Republicans +3
ABC News/Wash Post 10/9 - 10/12 629 LV 50 43 Republicans +7
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 10/8 - 10/12 666 LV 48 47 Republicans +1
CBS News 10/3 - 10/6 575 LV 49 43 Republicans +6

All 2014 Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data


Libertarian-Free NH Ballot Will Help Republicans

Both sample and absentee ballots have been available in New Hampshire for a few weeks now, so I assume I'm not the only one to notice something that in a close race could prove absolutely vital for Republicans.

If you have a ballot nearby, check it out

If not, I'm sure you'll take my word for it (or click on the link to Manchester sample ballots).  For the first time in many election cycles, Libertarians have chosen not to file candidates for office in New Hampshire, and no Independent candidates have filed enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.  

Our ballots in fact have four columns, one for all Republicans, one for all Democrats, and then two other columns, but at least in my district (Manchester, Ward 8), no names appear in the two other columns.

In a blowout election, this won't matter, but in a close election, it could matter a great deal, considering that Libertarian candidates are generally believed to take more votes away from Republicans than Democrats, perhaps by as much as a four to one margin.  Here's just one citation to prove the contention.

  1. Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats in at least ...
    Daily Kos 
    Nov 15, 2012 - It's hard to imagine the Libertarians helping Republicans in IN-Gov, CO-06, IN-02, ... However, it's not inconceivable that the Green hurt Dems in MI-01, ... would have needed to go to the GOP candidate to change the outcome:.

I've looked at the most recent off year election (2010).

In that race, John Barbiarz, the Libertarian candidate for governor, took 2.2 percent of the vote (not enough to influence the election since John Lynch beat John Stephen by about eight percent).

With Kelly Ayotte beating Paul Hodes by more than 100,000 votes for United States Senate (273,218-167,545), the 9194 votes for Independent Chris Booth and the 4753 for Libertarian Ken Blevins were far from decisive.

Nor were the 7966 votes for Libertarian Philip Hodson in the first Congressional District race since Frank Guinta defeated Carol Shea Porter by about 26,000 votes (121,655-95,503).

However, look at the race in the second c.d.  Charlie Bass beat ann McLane Kuster by only 3550 votes (108,619-105,060), and the two other candidates on the ballot received nearly 11,000 votes (6197 for Independent Tim vanBlommesteyn and 4796 for Libertarian Howard Wilson).

In other words, those third (or fourth) party votes could have made the difference.  Most likely, in this case, the Bass margin would have been greater against Kuster.

We could go through other years, but I'm sure you'll take my word for it.  Libertarian/Independent candidates generally have drawn in the two to three percent range.

With only Democrats and Republicans on the 2014 New Hampshire ballot, score it another advantage for Republicans in a year they are not likely to need any extra help.

Don't think I'm making this up.  The media has reported three incidents nationwide in which Libertarian candiates will likely hurt, perhaps fatally so, Republicans.

In Florida, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie could likely caputre enough votes to give the win to Democrat Charlie "I Need A Fan Up My Pants" Crist over incumbent Republican Scott.

In Gerogia, Libertarian Amanda Swafford just might take enough votes to prevent either major party candidate (Nunn or Perdue) from reaching the 50 percent threshhold to avoid a runoff required by state law (the runoff, if you can believe it, wouldn't be until January 6, 2015, three days after the new Congress is sworn in).

In North Carolina, Libertarian Sean "The Pizza Guy" Haugh could well siphon off enough conservative votes to provide inucmbent Democrat Kay Hagan with a slim margin of victory over Republican Thom Tillis who has closed a four point gap to just one point in recent days.  Haugh is not likely to get the seven to eight percent he's registering in polls--third party candidates generally fade on election day--but any votes not cast for Tillis could be pivotal.

Republicans won't have that problem in New Hamsphire.  Apparently, Libertarians have "wised up" and learend that their presense on the ballot does far more harm than goood for the principles for which they stand.

Ward 1 Polling Location: WEBSTER SCHOOL, 2519 Elm Street
Ward 2 Polling Location: HILLSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL, 112 Reservoir Avenue
Ward 3 Polling Location:  CAROL M. RINES CENTER, 1528 Elm Street
Ward 4 Polling Location:  MCDONOUGH SCHOOL, 550 Lowell Street
Ward 5 Polling Location:  BEECH STREET SCHOOL, 333 Beech Street
Ward 6 Polling Location:  ST. PIUS CCD CENTER, Candia Road and Sarto Street
Ward 7 Polling Location:  ST. ANTHONY COMMUNITY CENTER, 148 Belmont Street
Ward 8 Polling Location:  MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL, One Crusader Way
Ward 9 Polling Location:  BISHOP LEO E. O'NEIL YOUTH CENTER, 30 South Elm Street
Ward 10 Polling Location:  PARKER-VARNEY SCHOOL, 223 James Pollock Street
Ward 11 Polling Location:  GOSSLER PARK SCHOOL, 99 Sullivan Street
Ward 12 Polling Location: NORTHWEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 300 Youville Street

Two New Polls Have Shaheen's Lead Down To Three

With two news polls out Monday, Missouri native Jeanne Shaheen's lead over New Hampshire native Scott Brown is down to 2.6 points in the Real Clear Politics average. Less than two weeks ago, Shaheen's lead was more than five points, and RCP had the race as "leans Democrat".  


Today, it's clearly a toss-up.  In both polls out today, Shaheen's lead is three points, 49-46 in a Suffolk Univesity poll and 48-45 in a UMass/Amherst poll.After looking at the internals of both polls, however, I find the Suffolk Poll far more credible.  It's sample included 27.2 % Democrats, 30.6 % Republicans, and 41.2 % Independents, probably rather close to what the actual turnout will be in two weeks.

The UMass poll, however, misses the mark by a great deal.  It includes only 26% Republicans, 32 % Democrats, and 42 % Independents.  Does any sentient human being really think Democrats will enjoy a six point turnout advantage in a state in which Republicans enjoy a 3.2 % registration advantage and a 10-12 point lead in the all-important enthusiam gap?  Apparently, that's what they think in Amherst.  

Perhaps those faulty samples explain why in the same survey, UMass shows us an almost unbelievable (as in not to be believed) lead of 17 points (54-37) for incumbent Democratic Representative Carol Shea Porter over Frank Guinta in the first c.d.  (Can this be a typo?  Check it out with your own eyes--below).

The unbelievable data from UMass continues.  While Democrat Porter is up by 17, the polling outfit has Democrat Annie Kuster actually behind challenger Marilinda Garcia by five points (48-43) in the second c.d.

If it's not a typo, these are the kind of results that give all polling a bad name!
That's why we should focus on the Suffolk poll here.  Adding to its credibility is the fact that 47 % of its respondents voted for Obama in 2012, 43% for Romney. The U.S. Senate margin is the same as in the UMass poll, but the internals are far more credible.

Suffolk has Obama down 16 points (40-56) in approval and 11.6 points (41.6-53.2) in favorability in New Hampshire, in line with RCP averages.
Suffolk has Shaheen viewed favorably 49-42 (although she's dead even at 46-46 in approval) and Brown viewed unfavorably 39-48, again rather in line with other recent polling data.

Clearly, this is a problem for Scott Brown.

Suffolk also polled the race for governor and again its numbers are in line with most other polls.  Governor Maggie Hassan leads Walt Havenstein by 10 points (49-39; she's up eight points in the RCP average). Hassan enjoys a big edge in favorability, 17 points (50-33) while Havenstein is at minus 4 (28-32).  Suffolk also ran numbers for Senator Kelly Ayotte and find her the most popular figure in the state, up 23 points (54-31).

You should be able to look all the results from both polls by clicking on the link in the RCP numbers below.  I would recommend a look at the Suffolk poll.  There's lots of good stuff there, such as a slight lead for Shaheen (34.2 to 33.0 %) in running the most negative campaign.

Suffolk also has Obamacare nearly 15 points (40.6-55.2) under water in New Hampshire.

Review all the data and see if you don't agree with me that Scott Brown seems to have the edge on issues but hasn't been able to turn that favorability number around.  The race most likely will come down to whether voters dislike Obama (and Shaheen as his surrogate) more than Brown.

PollDateSampleMoEShaheen (D)Brown (R)Spread
RCP Average 9/29 - 10/19 -- -- 47.8 45.2 Shaheen +2.6
Suffolk/Boston Herald 10/16 - 10/19 500 LV 4.4 49 46 Shaheen +3
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 322 LV 6.6 48 45 Shaheen +3
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 1081 LV 3.0 47 48 Brown +1
High Point/SurveyUSA 10/4 - 10/8 824 LV 3.5 48 46 Shaheen +2
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 532 LV 4.2 47 41 Shaheen +6

All New Hampshire Senate - Brown vs. Shaheen Polling Data

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEGarcia (R)Kuster (D)Spread
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 162 LV -- 48 43 Garcia +5
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 545 LV 4.2 43 46 Kuster +3
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 660 LV 3.8 38 50 Kuster +12
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 275 LV 5.9 41 37 Garcia +4
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 702 LV 3.7 39 50 Kuster +11
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 779 LV 3.5 38 49 Kuster +11
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 627 LV -- 37 50 Kuster +13
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 312 LV 5.5 36 39 Kuster +3
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 246 LV 6.2 36 50 Kuster +14
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 184 LV -- 33 34 Kuster +1
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 218 LV -- 30 36 Kuster +6


ollDateSampleMoEShea-Porter (D)Guinta (R)Spread
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 160 LV -- 54 37 Shea-Porter +17
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 536 LV 4.2 44 46 Guinta +2
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 626 LV 3.9 47 44 Shea-Porter +3
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 258 LV 6.1 42 39 Shea-Porter +3
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 629 LV 3.9 41 51 Guinta +10
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 715 LV 3.7 45 45 Tie
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 607 LV -- 46 42 Shea-Porter +4
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 297 LV 5.7 41 45 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 263 LV 6.0 43 47 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 199 LV -- 44 35 Shea-Porter +9
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 245 LV -- 39 45 Guinta +6
WMUR/UNH 10/7 - 10/16 258 LV -- 48 32 Shea-Porter +16
New England College 10/7 - 10/9 882 RV 3.3 43 42 Shea-Porter +1