Rep Steve Vaillancourt


The Week In Polls--Oct. 3--A Lighter Shade Of Blue

            The bad news for Republicans heading into tonight’s first Presidential debate is that Mitt Romney trails in almost every poll, by an average of three points in the Real Clear Politics Average, and that Democrats have moved ahead in enough states to maintain control of the United States Senate.  In fact, had I written about the polls a week ago, I would have used the headline, “Blue, blue, all is blue.”

            Note that we’ve gone to a lighter shade of blue for this week’s headline because there’s good news for Republicans.  A week ago, Obama was up four points in the Real Clear Politics average, so he’s lost a point prior to the debate, and many of the State Senate races are too close for comfort either way. 

            For example, as of today RCP has Republicans picking up three seats (Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska) but losing two (Maine and Massachusetts) for a net gain of one, leaving Democrats with 52-48 control of the Senate.

            The biggest surprises are Wisconsin where Democrat Tammy Baldwin has moved five points ahead of former Governor Tommy Thompson (so much for Paul Ryan helping the ticket in his home state) and Connecticut where wrestling maven Linda McMahon has moved within a couple points of Democrat Chris Murphy (Pollster actually has her 0.3 points ahead in its averages).  It’s so tight in the Nutmeg State that ultra liberal media phenom Chris Matthews is actually picking McMahon to win.

            Elizabeth Warren has taken the lead from Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown in recent days (up between one and two points depending on which average one uses), but I suspect that’s because Obama has pulled so far ahead in the Bay State that he’s taken Warren with him.  Look for 60-40 as the over-under there.  If Obama hits 60 percent at the top of the ticket, Brown will be in trouble.

            The three big states at the Presidential level (Florida, Virginia, and Ohio) now have three Democrats in rather firm control for the Senate.  Kaine has moved 4.8 points ahead of Allen in one Virginia average, 1.9 points in another.  Sherrod Brown and Bill Nelson are also farther ahead than I thought they’d be, Brown by as much as nine points over Josh Mandel in Ohio (I thought Brown would be in trouble, but like in Massachusetts, Obama appears to have coattails here).

            You know you’re being inundated with polls when even the averages tell different stories.

            Going into tonight’s debate, Obama is up 49.1-46.0 (3.1 points) in the RCP average.  He’s up 48.7-44.4 (4.3 points) in the Pollster average.  Pollster has him with 303 electoral votes to 191 for Romney with only North Carolina and Florida as toss-ups.  Update--it just changed to 290-191; they moved Virginia back to toss-up.   See what a state of flux we're in!

            RCP has Obama at 269 (enough for an Electoral College tie) and Romney at 181.  Thus Romney would have to win all the toss-up states (Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Virginia, Florida where Obama leads and North Carolina and Missouri where Romney is ahead).  Ohio and New Hampshire are in the Obama camp according to both surveys.

            Nate Silver at (my favorite numbers cruncher) give Obama an 84.7 percent chance to be re-elected.  He has the Electoral College at 319-218 and the popular vote at plus 3.9 percent for Obama (51.4-47.5).

            For the record, let’s get individual polling numbers out at this landmark juncture.

            National Journal is out today with a 47-47 tie.  Gallup has Obama up four (49-45); even Rasmussen (which Fox News usually point to as it tries to make the race look close) has Obama up two today (49-47).

            That 49-47 seems to be a magic number.  That’s exactly what ABC News/Washington Post and Politico/GWU/Battleground polls have Obama up. NPR, on the other hand, has the Demagogue in Chief up seven points (51-44).  Never trust NPR!

            State polls usually take a few days to reflect gaps closing, but NBC/Marist has Obama’s lead down to only a point (47-46) today in Florida and only two (48-46) in Virginia.  He still leads by eight in Ohio (51-43), a real problem for Romney.  Again, so much for that strategy of picking Ryan to help in the Midwest.  I contended all along that Romney really needed a boost in the Southwestern states which Marco Rubio could have provided.  If Romney loses by failing to carry Colorado and Nevada (not to mention Florida), blame it on the Veep pick!

            The good news for Republicans is that they continue to hold a lead in the generic Congressional ballot and will most likely maintain a fairly big lead in the House.  RCP pegs it at 226-183, a 43 seat advantage.  After Rasmussen had Democrats ahead by a single point a few weeks ago, it’s back to a four point Republican lead now (45-41).  The RCP average has it virtually tied, but they factor in some Democrat polling outfits (such as NPR) which simply cannot be trusted.

            While we can’t look at all the polls out this week, two stand out as indications why the GOP should hold the House.  In Massachusetts, the tainted Congressman John Tierney has fallen six points behind Richard Tisei (37-31) in the sixth district, and in Utah, Saratoga Springs mayor Mia Love (the African American who wowed the country at the GOP convention) has moved from 15 points down to six points ahead (49-43) of  Jim Matheson.

            Lest I be accused of cherry picking positive polls for Republicans, I refer you back to the slew of bad news for the GOP at the Senate level.  In fact, look at Indiana which appeared to be a sure hold for Republicans with Dick Lugar six months ago.  He was ousted by Richard Mourdock to his right in the primary, and now Democrat Joe Donnelly is running neck and neck and is actually up by two points in one poll.  I doubt he’ll pull the upset, but it’s a sign of the blue wave that this one is even close.

Missouri is particularly intriguing.  After being left for dead by his fellow Republicans, Todd Akin is within 2.3 points of Clair McCaskill in the RCP averages.  Rasmussen and PPP both have him down six (46-40), but We Ask American has McCaskill up only one (46-45).  Go figure.

I’m having trouble making sense out of the WMUR/Granite State poll, not the one which has Obama up 15 points over Romney in New Hampshire but the one which has Maggie Hassan up two points over Ovide LaMontagne either 42-40 or 38-36 depending on which sampling you focus on.  Ovide is doing much better with independent voters than Romney, so he should be doing better overall, but with so many undecided voters, it doesn’t really matter at this point.  Time will tell on that race.  I was going to write a blog that if only we had the None of the Above option; New Hampshire would be better served.

Maybe tomorrow….  

National RCP Poll Average

49.1 Obama (+3.1)   Romney 46.0

With Obama Up 15 Points In NH...What About Coattails?


If you, like me, choose to bing it (google is so yesterday), you'll notice what widespread nationwide attention yesterday's  WMUR/Granite State poll (conducted by Andy Smith at UNH) is getting.
That's the poll that shows President Obama has extended his lead from five points to 15 points here.  The worst news for Republicans is that it doesn't appear to be an oversampling of Democrats which has caused this shift.  Obama leads by 16 points (54-38) among undeclared (independent) voters which make up the largest share in New Hampshire.
Obama leads 48-45 among men, but enjoys nearly a two to one lead (60-33) among women.
If these numbers hold up, down ballot consequences could, from two two Congressional and gubernatorial races to  State Senate to State Rep races and even county races) could prove disastrous for Republicans.
Remember back to four years ago when a UNH released a poll showing Obama ahead of McCain by more than 20 points in the final week.  It closed somewhat, as I knew it would, but when I saw that poll, I knew it was all over.
Of course, it's not yet the final week, and the 15 point margin is sure to narrow, but this can be viewed only as terrible news for Republicans.
You may recall that, after speaking with a Republican insider last week, I hinted here (not in a lead blog but in a response to a question) that the Romney campaign may be ready to give up on New Hampshire.  The note was picked up by a liberal blogging source.  All I could think of last night when I saw this poll was that insider's tip a week ago.  Even though Paul Ryan was here over the weekend, even though Biden was here and Clinton is coming, it may just be over in New Hampshire.
Republican partisans may choose to pooh-pooh this poll, but for the sake of arguments, let's say it's off by the four point margin of error.  That still leaves Obama with a big lead.
Last week, ARG had him up five points (50-45) in the state and NBC/Marist/Wall Street Journal had him up seen (51-44), so the UNH numbers aren't all that far-fetched.
Some pundits are saying the Romney cannot win without carrying New Hampshire, but fivethirtyeight and Real Clear Politics are both out with numbers today.  Even with Ohio and New Hampshire and Wisconsin, Obama "only" gets to 269.  That's enough for a tie, and presumably Romney would win in the House of Representatives.
But let's be real.  Romney is at 191 electoral votes, and to get up to the 269-269 tie, he'd need to win North Carolina and Missouri (certainly doable; likely in fact), but also not only Florida and Virginia (perhaps that's doable) but also Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada (not likely).
So there is a road to the Presidency for Romney without New Hampshire, do it's indeed a road less taken.
The big concern for New Hampshire Republicans should be down ballot damage.  Last week, I projected a 13-11 Republican edge in the State Senate.  Fortunately, many of the 13 seats are safe, probably safer in fact than two Democratic seats in Manchester (D'Allesandro, Soucy) and one in Nashua (Gilmour), but Republicans have to be concerned about Andy Sanborn in the Bedford area and Nancy Stiles in the Hampton area (District 24).
Not to mention the State House of Reps, already plagued by Bill O'Brien's bullying (some would say fascistic ) tactics.
I'll factor these new numbers into my State House projection of a 202-197 (1 Independent) Republican lead and report back later this week. 
This much is certain.  It won't be pretty for the forces red. (I am, after all, a realist). The two seats the GOP will now take in Belmont may not be enough to hold off a blue tide.  It now appears the unthinkable will in fact happen...Democrats will pick up seats in both Weare and Goffstown.  More to come...


Trivia Time--Quite An Inheritance!

Let's play Jeopardy.
Well, not quite, but let's do at least one trivia question, with enough clues so that most of you should be able to come of with the answer, if only by the process of elimination, by the time we're done.
Which famous American said (at least allegedly), "I inherited only infancy, ignorance, and indigence".
Start the music.
Hint 1--He wasn't a President, albeit not for lack of trying.  That eliminates both Lincoln and the 30-day President, William Henry Harrison who, during the campaign of 1840, made a big deal (not entirely truthfully) about his humble origins.
Hint 2--Although I've been reading a lot on Daniel Webster lately, it isn't Daniel Webster.  In fact this man, while in the same party as Webster, was more often an opponent rather than an ally of Black Dan. 
Hint 3--He wasn't born in New Hampshire, so that will also eliminate Salmon P. Chase.
Hint 4--Although from a slave state and an owner of slaves, he most likely would not have favored secession (he was dead prior to 1860).  That should eliminate South Carolina's John C. Calhoun, moving force behind the Nullification Crisis in the early 1830s.
But you should be getting warmer.
Hint Number 5--Don't compromise your thought process with your answer.
That should do it.  If not...
Hint number 6--Star of the West.
Hint Number 7--You can locate the answer of page 8 of Merrill Peterson's book, "The Great Triumverate", and you shouldn't need to go to the book to get it by now.  Think of the three men of the triumverate; we've already eliminated Webster and Calhoun.   That leaves....
Yes, the answer is Henry Clay, the great compromiser and skilled orator, the 1812 War Hawk and youngest Speaker of the U.S. House,  the Kentucky slave owner who first ran for President in 1824.  He wasn't in the final three in public voting that year.  Thus he didn't make it to the House which decided in favor of John Quincy Adams in what many consider the stolen election over Andrew Jackson (the third place finisher was nearly dead at the time of the election...for extra credit, name him here).  He fact, the election tainted Clay's career because he favored Adams over Jackson and then was appointed Secretary of State...many considered it a dirty bargain...many still do.  Clay lost to Jackson in 1832, lost the Whig nomination to Harrison in a year he could have won (1840); lost to Polk in 1844, and was still running in 1848 when another Whig (Zachary Taylor) beat him.  Poor more ways than one.
Ain't history fun.
Yes, I'm reading "The Great Triumverate" now (on loan from the Derry library), not an easy read.

 As I recall, his wife was not what you'd call a pretty woman...nor was Daniel Webster's mother.

Henry Clay (1777-1852) and His Wife Lucretia

There she is...Lucretia.  Thanks Bing!


How About Binging Judy?

After googling everything for years, I've decided to try binging it. 

Any recommendations?

Is it as good as google?


I saw the Bing ad on TV and decided to give it a go.

I'll let you know what I discover.

By the way, you'll never guess who was stopped at a traffic light and said Hi to me as I was crossing the street out here by the library in Manchester...Governor Jeanne Shaheen's legal aide Judy Reardon.  I thought she'd be in Washington with the senator, but apparently she's very ill and has been back in Manchester for the past year.  Good luck Judy.  Maybe we should try googling or binging her.

Judy Reardon

Judy Reardon

Hey, it works.  This is fun!  Thanks Bing!


The Reading Room--Temp Returns To Montreal

Bones Are Forever

Time for some escapist fiction.
Just because it's been a blue moon (defined as a calendar month in which two full moons appear, like August, 2012) since we've entered The Reading Room here doesn't mean I haven't been reading.
In fact, just the opposite is true.  I've been reading (whenever I become annoyed by TV coverage of the campaign, an increasingly frequent happening, on both the Lame Stream media and equally as lame Fox, I reach for a book) so much that I haven't had time to conjure up reviews here.
After the death of Gore Vidal this summer, I decided to get into his historical fiction, but compulsive person that I am, I didn't stop at just one book.  I made it through the even seven part series on American history, beginning with Burr and going on through The Golden Age.  Each book was about 500 pages, so it took a while, but I found Gore more readable than I had remembered.  His history is better than his fiction.  That's why Burr and Lincoln are the two best in the series.  There's also 1876, Hollywood (about the Wilson years; he's kinder to the racist Woodrow than I would have been), Washington DC (the first he wrote; one of my least favorite since it features the most fiction, about the FDR years), and one about the McKinley imperialist age with William Randolf Hearst as a major character--I believe it was called Empire.
It took a while but I also got through the lengthy biography of Walter Cronkite (ironically the author's name is Brinkley, Douglas Brinkley).  It's quite good, and as you learn what Walter was doing at a given time, you might think back on what your life was like at the time.  An easier shorter and more fun-filled biography of another CBS legend, Mike Wallace by Peter Rader, was probably the easiest and best read of the summer.
Finally I fulfilled a promise to read a Daniel Webster biography, and I went with the 800 page one by Remini, not an easy read at all since it features much of Webster's speeches (they may well have been great 170 years ago, but they don't read well today) and his legal battles.  Similarly, Gore's Lincoln fiction led me to a biography of his Secretary of Treasury Salmon Chase (also Supreme Court Chief Justice), like Webster, born in New Hampshire (Cornish) and like Dirty Dan not a good man, but certainly a great man...if you know what I mean.  This 500 pager is by John Niven and is a very tough read.
That brings me to the purpose of this entry.  As a reward, I've picked up the latest piece of fiction by Kathy Reichs, the bone doctor who's responsible for the TV show bones.  She returned to Montreal for the latest one, Bones Are Forever.  It's apparently about babied born and disposed of in dumpsters, but I've yet to start it.  Looks like a quick read.
Reichs is very authentic, at least when it comes to Montreal geography.  A few years ago, I spent an hour tracking down the Montreal location where he fictional character claims to work out of.  Sure enough, it exists, in the Jacques Cartier section of the city.
In the future, I promise to read a bit less and write about books a bit more.
I didn't get into the three dozen baseball books I devoured at all...Bill Lee's bio was a real hoot.
 Probably the best non-fiction work (and quickest read) out there now.

Great bio of the CBS legend, but very long!



 Probably the best non-fiction work (and quickest read) out there now.

Great bio of the CBS legend, but very long!