Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Saturday
Nov032012

Media Watch--Beware The "All" Word

Journalists, and indeed "all" of us, should be especially careful when using the "all" word.  I caught Kevin Landrigan from the Nashua Telegraphy and Ann Timmins from the Concord Monitor in the past couple weeks.  While I'm sure their intentions were honorable when they used the "all" word, they were indeed overstating the case.

Landrigan, in a Sunday column, noted that House Speaker Bill O'Brien (or his people) had reached out to "all" Republican Representatives for their support in his re-election.  Most would most likely have been appropriate, but certainly not "all" since I would have to be included to make it "all" and I can assure you all that I have not been contacted by the Dictator in Chief (hey, maybe that's why I haven't been contacted!).  I can also assure you all that my good friend (and passenger) Rep. Irene Messier, from Ward 10, has not been contacted by the Dictator's team.  Thus "all minus two" might be appropriate, but I suspect that two would be too few.  Most, Kevin, but not all.

Similarly for the Monitor.  I seem to recall reading a story that "all" Republican Reps had been sent some type of information to use in the campaign.  Again, neither Irene nor I have received any such information whether it be touting the Republican accomplishments the past two years or bewailing the increase of "more than a hundred" taxes and fees when Democrats were in control the previous four years.  Maybe it's just me, but I have received nothing from the GOP (except requests for money from Team Romney), and this is contrary to past years when Republican staffers were on the ball enough to provide opposition reseach (voting records) of my Democratic opponents.  Either Republicans are asleep at the swith this year, or I'm SPECIAL, as in espcecially ingored.

Whatever the case, beware ALL, y'all.

Hysterical Foxes--Speaking of overstating your case, Fox News seems especially dedicated to arousing a state of hysteria in the body politic these final days before the election, and its not just the evening opion dealers like O'Reilly and Hannity and Greta.

Yesterday morning, I actually heard the woman on Fox and Friends claim that some of those devasted by Sandy were "without a stitch of clothing on their backs".  That's a direct quote. 

Are people hurting?  Of course they are.

But is anyone without a stitch of clothing on his or her back?  I truly doubt it...this would be from the woman (y'all know her name undoubtedly--if not big it) who is directed by management to minimize the stitches of clothing she uses to cover her legs on the set!

Shortly after nine, Martha McCallum arrived on the set, and in an attempt to portray the Obama administration as not responding properly to the pain being felt in New York and New Jersey, she noted the long lines at gas stations, but it was not enough to say there were "miles" of people in line.  Oh no, she stated there were "miles and miles" of people in lines.

As a Romney Republican (albeit no neocon or social neanderthal), I usually agree with the Fox viewpoint, but the network hurts its credibility by such overblown reportage.

Are people suffering in the New York area?  I repeat--of course they are.

Is Obama to blame?  Of course he's not.

Only Joshing--Apprarently Channel 9 reporter Josh McElveen (double e, please) is not reading this blog.  Last Sunday, apparently thinking back to the Jefferson/Burr election of 1800, Josh noted that it was 212 years ago that the House of Representatives last was called upon to vote for President.

Wrong!  As I noted here two weeks ago (and as I emailed bo Josh), 1824 was probably an even more exciting year than 1800 although it didn't take as many ballots for the House to make its decision.  With four candidates in the field (JQ Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Crawford), no won received an electoral majority.  Popular vote was even tabulated in some states ack then, but Jackson had about 41 perecent of what there was of it to some 33 percent for Adams.  However, Clay (who had been eliminated by virtue of not being in the top three) threw his support in Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio to Adams in what became known as the "corrupt bargain" (a "promise" to become Secretary of State, a promise that probably was never made), and Adams won.  It's a great story.  Josh would do well to note it.  If Romney and Obama get to 269-269 this year (and I've stumbled upon two ways it could happen--there are many, many more), we'll relive the history of 1824 in more detail than I've given here. 

Cheers For The Monitor, Sentinel, And Other Papers which are devoting space not merely to the top of the ticket but to races for State Represenative.  These papers are printing responses from candidates to a variety of questions.  Not every candidate is responding (it would be three strikes against non-responders if I were the umpire), but the chance for a more infomed electorate is there.  Of course, Manchester voters are not so fortunate.  Neither the Union Leader (undoubedly with the excuse that it covers the entire state) nor the Hippo has lifted a finger to inform voters of how candidates stand on issues.  I remember that several election cycles back, I actually shamed McQuad into offering space to all candidates, but apparently as newspaper profit sink and fewer and fewer people get their news from the printed page, that's asking too much for W today.  A big thumbs down to all media which is ignorning this responsibility.

Also a thumbs up to the Monitor for actually endorsing one Republican.  It's exceedinly amusing to find how the Union Leader endorses "all"  (maybe I should use the word "most") Republicans and most liberal papers endorses almost all Democrats.  It's actually laughable.  However, in an endorsement of five State Senate candidates, the Monitor opted for Republican David Boutin in District 16 (Wards 1, 2, 12 in Manchester and Hooksett and other towns).  The paper suggested that Democrat Kathy Kelly get a few years experience as a State Rep prior to running for Senate (this is in fact her second run).  The paper did NOT point at how Kelly, reportedly in a poor state, ran into a series of parked cars and left the scene of an accident a few winters ago.  Oh well, that would perhaps be asking too much...and I'm not even going to go there as to whether or not it would have been reported had the reckless driver been a Republican!

Saturday
Nov032012

Expect 700,000 and 48,000 Voters Tuesday

Far be it from me to disagree with Secretary of State William Gardner, the man I most admire in the state of New Hampshire (Rep. Neal Kurk has moved into second), but I'm going slightly lower rather than slightly higher for statewide turnout versus four years ago when it was 719,000.

Bill is going with 722,000.  He may well be right, but I'm going with an even 700,000 number.  In the past, population growth has, at least in part, accounted for growth every four years, but keep in mind that the state's population has not grown the past four years--in fact, we might be down slightly.

Plus, I sense a lack of absolute enthusiasm, especially on the part of Obama Democrats.

My latest report from Manchster City Hall is that, as opposed to 2008 when 4395 votes were cast by absentee ballot, 3554 have been cast so far this year.  That's as of Friday, and a few hundred most likely will come in Monday and Tuesday's mail (4271 absentee ballots were requested), but the Manchester absentee total is still likely to be 10 or 15 percent shy of four years ago when more than 49,000 votes were cast in the city.

I'm going with a 48,000 turnout in Manchester this year (hey, what can I say, I like round numbers).  That's not a big decrease, but in this atmosphere, every vote could count.  The most recent poll for New Hampshire, from Gravis, had Obama up 50-49 yesterday.

Paul Bergeron, Nashua City Clerk, is projecting a record turnout there, but numbers absentee requests seem to be down in Keene, rather significant because it leans so heavily Democratic (of course, a wave of Keene Staters could all show up and register election day, but that's not really likely).

I'm predicting Romney to carry the state by about the same margin he does the nation (51-48), and while I'm predicting the state's four electoral votes won't be vital (Romney wins 279-259), they just could if he fails to pick up Colorado.  Take away the 9 from Colorado, and indeed New Hampshire's four votes would move Romney from 266 to the magic 270!

Full details and all predictions will be updated here Monday.

 

Wednesday
Oct312012

Lower Than Expected Turnout Could Doom Obama In NH

Until now, all we had were polls, and frankly they are all over the map when it comes to the Presidential race in New Hampshire.  Thanks to the UNH outlier poll which showed Obama up by nine points last week, the Real Clear Politics average had the President up slightly here.  However, Democratic pollster Doug Schoen (Bill Clinton's pollster) last night indicated that New Hampshire is leaning for Romney.

There's non-polling data which tends to verify that.

Last week, I ran into Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand in front of City Hall.  Noting that more than 49,000 votes were cast in the city in 2008, I said, "So I guess we'll hit 50,000 this year."

No, Matt told me.  To my surprise, he said he expects turnout will be less than four years ago, and this is not just a wild hunch.  City and town clerks (not to mention Secretary of State Bill Gardner) are usually fairly accurate in predicting turnout based on absentee ballot requests.

The are considerably down in Manchester, and Matt tells me that newly registered voters were off as well (the deadline for registering was last Saturday to allow city and town clerks time to prepare their check lists; of course, same day registration is still allowed).

Four years ago, Matt recalls lines out the door at city hall in Manchester.  Not so this year.

I was going to break this news last week, but I've been busy going door to door in Ward 8 (a big shout out to all those down at Crystal Lake, what a great afternoon I had down there!).  Then along came Sandy, but since I've basically completed visiting every house in the ward now, I decided to spend some time blogging today.

I went to City Hall in Manchester, and as expected, numbers are down.  Democratic hacks like Bob Beckel are on Fox trying to discount Mitt Romney's 52-45 lead in absentee votes after he enjoyed a 15 point lead four years ago.

Such hacks will try to minimize this data as well.  Oh, they'll say, there are still five days to vote absentee, but that would be misleading.  Historically, the vast majority of those who wish to vote absentee have already requested ballots by this time.

Here are the numbers.  In Manchester in 2008, 4694 people requested absentee ballot; 4395 ballots were actually returned, about nine percent of the total votes cast in the city.  It's normal to have six or seven percent of your absentee ballots never returned.

Fast forward to this year.

Matt Normand told me last week that he would be surprised to see 4000 absentee ballots cast in the city, about ten percent less than four years ago.

As of noon today, 4096 absentee ballots had been requested and 3006 returned. 

People still can actually go to city hall and vote there (with valid reason) by absentee up until Monday, but that doesn't happen much.

In fact, we could welll see a ten percent decline in absentee ballots in a city Barack Obama won by 5000 or so votes four years ago.  A ten percent decline in absentee votes does not necessarily translate into a ten perecent decline in votes cast on election day, but it's a very strong indication that turnout will be down.

Of course, these could be Republican voters not showing up, but my guess is that New Hampshire and Manchester will follow national trends, that Republicans are motivated and Democrats are less motivated than they were four years ago.

So, Bob Beckel and Kathy Sullivan (she was on CSpan today spinning away) can engate in all the self-deception they wish, but real numbers six days prior to the election would indicate Obama is in trouble in New Hampshire.

I've tried to get statewide data from Secretary of State Gardner, but have so far come up short.  His deputy David Scanlan told me he expects turnout to be down statewide, but Bill is still refining his numbers.

I've always gone by the assumption that in the overall scheme of things, Manchester (which accounts for about seven percent of votes cast in the state) is pretty much in line with other communities.

If this is true, Obama and Democrats could be doomed in our four electoral vote state!

Wednesday
Oct312012

This American Life From NH This Weekend

This Saturday, November 3, at 2 p.m. on New Hampshire Public Radio (WEVO).
That's when the episode of This American Life dealing with New Hampshire is supposed to air.
That's the show hosted by former Concord Monitor reporter Sarah Koenig who a month ago spent a weekend interviewing various New Hampshire political figures (including me).
I promised to let you know when it was going to air, then I forgot about it and thought I had missed it (I've been out going door to door in Ward 8 Saturday afternoon the past several weeks and will be again this Saturday).
Apparently this is the week.  Sarah, always one of my favorite when she was at the Monitor, spent a lot of time on this.  She managed to get most of Speaker Bill O'Brien's Republican critics on tape and then captured the Speaker himself (so I'm told).
It'll be interesting to see how it's edited. 
Let me know what you think.
Tuesday
Oct302012

A Forced Candlelight Vigil Of Reading

Now I know what our forefathers from Washington and Jefferson on up through Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and Lincoln and beyond felt like when darkness fell.

When my power went out Monday night around 8 p.m., I dug out a few candles and started reading by candle light, much as most of the human race must have done until the advent of electricity rather recently in our history (unless they were reading by whale oil or some such thing).

I'm not complaining mind you.  When many of my neighbors in South Manchester lost power for days if not weeks in last year's Halloween storm, I was fine, so the weather gods are simply catching up with me.

I'm still struggling through Merrill D. Peterson's "The Great Triumvirate--Webster, Clay and Calhoun".  William Henry Harrison is about to beat all three of them in 1840 and become President (for a month).  That will lead us into Tyler too who was not at all what the Whigs had bargained for!

It's not an easy book what with tariffs, the bank battle, nullification, and other complex issues, but it's actually easier to read by candlelight without the distractions electricity provides.  No wonder our forefathers were for the most party much better readers than we are today!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still hoping the lights (not to mention TV) will be back on by the time I get home today, but a few days of throwback can’t be all bad (at least not as bad as those Pittsburgh Steeler throwback uniforms we were subjected to Sunday!).