Rep Steve Vaillancourt


UNH's Andy Smith Odd Man Out In NH Polling

When in comes to polling, Andrew Smith is to New Hampshire what Gallup last week was to the national scene.

His polling data is totally out of whack with other pollsters in the field just as pundits (mostly Democratic) were quick to point out last week how Gallup was so far off base when it had Romney seven points ahead of Obama.  The Gallup number is down to five this week, about the same as Rasmussen's number Wednesday (Romney up four, 50-46).

However, there are no indications that Smith's numbers will move back to the realm of credibility, and I say this as someone who has respected and defended Smith for years.

It's hard to continue that respect this year.  His numbers have been all over the map, and yes, I realize that numbers will vary depending on when a poll is taken.  However, not only is Smith out of synch with four other pollsters who comprise the Real Clear Politics Average, but his internal numbers simply don't add up.

First the five polls.  Two have Romney slightly ahead; one has Romney slightly behind; one has a dead heat; only UNH has a wide Obama lead.  Here are the numbers.

Smith (the WMUR/Granite State Poll to be precise) has Obama up 9 points--51-42 in New Hampshire.

Rasmussen has Obama up 1 point, 50-49.

Suffolk University has it dead even at 47-47.

PPP (a Democratic outfit!) has Romney up 1 point, 49-48.

ARG has Romney up 2 points, 49-47.

Only the out of whack UNH data gives Obama a lead in the average, 1.4 points (48.6-47.2).

This is enough for RCP to move our dear little state back into the Obama column, but the Smith numbers simply don't make sense.  Go to, and you can click on the UNH poll to get reams of internal numbers, but here's the one which makes the entire poll suspect.

The poll has Obama leading 94-2 among Democrats, no surprise.  Romney leads 91-4 among Republicans, no surprise, but given those numbers, one would be forced to intuit that to be ahead by nine points overall, Obama must be up six or seven points among Independents.  In fact, the Smith poll has Obama up only two points there, 39-37.  The only way these numbers add up is if the poll sampled many, many more Democrats than Republicans and since the lastest numbers from the Secretary of State's office show four percent more registered Republicans than Democrats in the state (it's about 40% Undeclared, 32% Republicans, and 28% Democrats), no pollster with credibility would oversample Democrats.

The UNH numbers make even less if we look at likely voters.  Smith has Romney up overall by eight points, 49-41.  However, he actually has Romney leading among Independents 37-36 while Obama leads 92-2 among Democrats and Romney 91-3 among Republicans.

How does that make sense unless the sampling is heaving skewed toward Democrats?  With each candidate taking almost all his base and with Romney up one point with Independents, the race should be dead even or close to even--like the other pollsters have it.

As always, once I begin to distrust anyone (whether it be in polling or the seven Manchester Republican snakes who went back on their word on redistricting), I tend to write them off and never trust them again.

We may be headed in that direction with UNH polling.  Remember, a few weeks ago, Smith had Obama up 15 points and then up only six the very next week (even when the first debate bounce was not entirely cooked into the numbers).

This is important because Smith, also unlike all other pollsters, has Maggie Hassan up beyond the margin of error for Governor, six points (37-31 with a whopping 32 percent undecided).

Until Andy Smith's numbers begin to add up, we should either take them with a shaker of salt or ignore them completely.

If Obama were up nine points here (as Smith tells us), who on Earth thinks he would feel the need to keep coming back here to campaign?

No one of course.

It's close to dead even here, and the WMUR/Granite State poll cannot be trusted.


The First Man I Ever Voted For Is Gone




I was 20 years old during the climax of the 1972 campaign.  While I was a supporter of Richard Nixon at an eight year old back in 1960 and as a 17 year old in 1968, by 1972 I had come to see just how much a crook he really was, a man rather devoid of principles.  Besides, I was never a big fan of Nixon's secret and unrealized plan of ending the war in Vietnam.

That's a long way of saying the George McGovern was the first candidate for President I ever voted for, and although I knew he was going to be defeated in a landslide that year (let's hear it for Massachusetts!), I was saddened.

Had Nixon not lowered the voting age to 18, this much I'll never forget, I would not have been able to vote in 1972...I was weeks shy of being 21 at the time of the election.  For that much, I owe Tricky Dick a debt of gratitude.

I was also broadcasting election results that night on WPCR, the Plymouth State College radio station.  In fact, I've unearthed a very strange picture of me at the mike in Silver Hall where our studio was located.  What a prim and proper young man I was back then.  Maybe I'll show the picture of The Liberty Express one of these days.

You don't forget the first person you voted for for President.

I'll never forget George McGovern, one of the most honorable men ever to become involved in what has become a less than honorable profession (politics).

At 90, George McGovern died over the weekend. 

I grave for him. 

It seems like I've lost a part of myself with his passing and I assume I am not alone.


George McGovern with Thomas Eagleton, a shockingly bad choice for Vice President in 1972.  Check out Douglas Brinkley's new biography of Walter Cronkite who might well have accepted an approach from McGovern for Veep...not that McGovern could have won even with Uncle Walter, but it would have been much more interesting.

George McGovern with Thomas Eagleton, a shockingly bad choice for Vice President in 1972.  Check out Douglas Brinkley's new biography of Walter Cronkite who might well have accepted an approach from McGovern for Veep...not that McGovern could have won even with Uncle Walter, but it would have been much more interesting.


This Week's Trivia--Don't Die Yet

With the Presidential election two weeks from today, consider this.  No candidate in American history has won a major party nomination and died just prior to the election.  Imagine the mess such a death would create!  However, as we go back in history, there is one man who died at this time (October 24 to be precise) during a Presidential campaign.  Not only that, but this man had sought the Presidency often and had in fact hoped to receive the nomination the year of his death.

Which of these frequent Presidential candidates would that be?

A)  New Hampshire's own Daniel Webster in 1852

B)  South Carolina's John C. Calhoun in 1848

C)  Kentucky's Henry Clay in 1952

D)  New York's Thomas Dewey in 1956

E)  Adlai Stevenson, of Illinois, in 1960


Answer--Since Stevenson served as John F. Kennedy's United Nations ambassador, we can rule him out.  He in fact died July 14, 1965.  Thomas Dewey lived until March 24, 1982, so that can't be the answer, and we are left with the three giants who compose the Great Triumvirate in Merrill Peterson's book.  In fact, all three died about the same time.  They were all around for the Compromise of 1850, so we can rule Calhoun out for an 1848 death (he lived until March 31, 1850).  So it's down to Clay and Webster.  Clay in fact became very ill at the time of the Compromise of 1850 and although he survived until June 28, 1852, he was not running for President that year.  Thus, the answer is Daniel Webster.  He died two weeks before another New Hampshire native, Franklin Pierce, was elected President.  In fact, earlier in 1852, Webster had once again, with no chance of success, sought the Presidency.

Born on January 18, 1782, Webster died October 24, 1852.  In the midst of his Presidential campaign, Pierce paused to attend the funeral.

RIP, Black Dan...or would you prefer...RIP, Godlike Daniel.

Here he is.


RCP Moves NH To Romney--A Tie Possibility Harkens Us Back To 1824

In an indication of national movement toward Mitt Romney, Real Clear Politics today moved both New Hampshire and Virginia into the Mitt Romney column in its calculation that forces every state into one column or the other words, no toss-ups allowed.
RCP now has Obama ahead only 277-261 with 270 needed for an electoral college win, but keep in mind that 269 would provide a tie in which case Romney would almost certainly win in the House of Representatives.  That's an interesting scenario in itself.  Each state would get one vote, so Vermont counts as much as California.  26 votes would be needed, and states which have two Congressmen (New Hampshire should Guinta and Kuster win, for example) would most likely not cast votes at all.
There are in fact scenarios making the rounds which get us to a 269-269 tie.
Only twice in history has an election been decided in the House, perhaps most famously when Thomas Jefferson and his Vice President Aaron Burr tied in electoral votes in 1800.
However, a more interesting case is 1824 when Andrew Jackson led John Quincy Adams, but in a four candidate field, he failed to achieve a majority.  Many books relate the story; I'm still in the process of reading Merrill Peterson's The Great Triumvirate which offers an excellent account. Jackson had 99 electoral votes, Adams 84, Georgina William Crawford (who was near death at the time) 41, and Henry Clay 37 (he had won Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri).  The Constitution provided that the House pick the winner from the top three, and Clay threw his weight to Adams in what has gone down in history, most likely improperly, as a corrupt bargain--Adams made Clay his Secretary of State.
There's another great story from that year. 13 states were required to win the presidency back then.  The New York Representatives were 17 for Adams, 16 for Crawford, and one for Jackson when Stephen Van Rensselaer, no fan of Adams, allegedly bowed his head in prayer, saw an Adams ballot at his feet, picked it up and stuffed it in the box.
Ah such fun!
With only two candidates today, about the only way to get an election into the House is a 269-269 tie.
RCP has Romney ahead 201-206 in electoral votes if toss-ups are not counted in.
It also has the popular vote exactly even at 47.1-47.1 today.
A further indication that Romney may be pulling ahead in New Hampshire is that PPP, the solidly Democratic polling firm, has Romney up 49-48 here.  If PPP has a Republican ahead, you can be sure the Republican really is ahead!
PPP has Maggie Hassan ahead 45-43 in the race for Governor, but Rasmussen flipped yesterday from a narrow lead for Maggie to a 48-46 lead for Ovide giving him a lead in three of five recent polls.  Only Channel 7 and PPP now have Maggie ahead; ARG and UNH join Rasmussen in having Ovide ahead.

Son of the second President, John Quincy was deemed dour and not terribly popular, but he most likely was not guilty of striking a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay to "steal" the 1824 election from Andrew Jackson in the House of Representatives.  Chances are we'll hear a lot about that election as the 2012 race comes down to the wire.  By the way, JQA's exercise regimen included frequent swims in the Potomac River...I kid you not!  After serving one term as President, he went on to a long career in the House (very much anti-slavery) in fact, he died in the very building circa 1848.


Romney Scores Knockout In Comedyfest

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, left, attend the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a charity gala organized by the Archdiocese of New York, Thursday, Oct.
Move over Jay Leno; move over left wing loony Letterman; there's a new king of comedy in town, and his name is Mitt!
After winning the first debate by a landslide (in virtually everyone's opinion) and after winning the second debate (at least when it came down to real issues), Mitt Romney made it three in a row (four if you count Smirkoholic Biden's pathetic performance in the Veepstakes debate) when he proved a master of comedy at Thursday night's Al Smith dinner in New York City.
I listened to the entire comedic monologue from both men (they were only about five minutes) and while Obama indeed elicited some chuckles, Mitt Romney was laugh out loud funny, a fact even Democrats could not ignore. 
But don't take my word for it.  I'm sure you can Google (or Bing) the bits and judge for yourself from the degree of laughter in the room.
Those who didn't think Mitt Romney could be funny found out just the opposite.  In fact, I suspect that Mitt Romney can succeed at just about anything he sets his mind to doing; that's why he's my choice for President.
Self-deprecating humor is the best kind, and Romney scored big my noting the formal attire for the evening (white tie) was the way he and Ann dress when sitting around the house.
However, he also used humor to plunge the knife deeply into Obama.  With Obama's term running out, Romney noted, there's so little time left and so much wealth left to redistribute.  Romney also joked that Obama's new campaign slogan is "you're better off than you were four weeks ago."
In response to how Biden hurts Democrats every time he opens his mouth, Romney joked that the Election Commission contacted him (Romney) to put a tag line that he was responsible for the Delaware Dolt's (my phrase, not his) comments.
Funny stuff indeed.  Of course, Romney didn't write his own material, nor did Obama (gag writers while not a dime a dozen certainly come cheaper than TV spots in Ohio), but he delivered it with a sense of timing Bob Newhart would be proud of.
I'm going to try to get the entire five minute bit for my TV show next week.
Of course, the comedy prowess will not change a single vote (will it?), but Romney was the clear winner.