Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Monday
Jun042012

The Week In Polls--June 4--Wisconsin Numbers A Test For PPP

            Tomorrow’s Wisconsin balloting can now be seen as not merely a test for Republican versus Democratic strength (Romney vs. Obama) come November, but with new polling data out today, it can be seen as a test of polling authenticity, and yes as even a test of the validity of those who average polls.

            PPP, that Democratic propaganda machine which masquerades as a polling company, has incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker up only three points (50-47) on the very same day We Ask American has Walker up no less than 12 points (54-42).

            Huffington Pollster (yes, that would be a left leaning group) went so far as to headline today’s story “Eleventh Hour Poll Shows Walker With Slim Lead” and revealed its average of polls showing Walker up only 3.8 points (50.4-46.6).

            Meanwhile, over at Realclearpolitics.com, the average of polls shows Walker ahead by 6.7 points (51.5-44.8).

            That’s nearly a three point difference not in polls mind you, but in the average of polls!

            Go figure.

            My guess is that RCP has it about right, that Walker should win by six points or so.  You know what; Barack Obama believes that as well; he’s avoided a trip to Wisconsin because he knows the Democratic candidate (gosh, I’ve even forgotten his name) has virtually no chance of pulling this one out.

            National Democrats appear to be sorry that their Wisconsin unionists ever pushed this to the point of recall because a Walker win in the six point vicinity would mean this state, which Obama won handily in 2008, is very much in play.  Marquette University had Walker up seven points (52-45) late last week.

            Following last Friday’s dismal jobs report, Obama has taken a hit of only about a point in approval ratings.  RCP has him at only -0.4 (47.8-48.2) while pollster has him at -1.3 (48.5-47.2).  Rasmussen has it -5 (47-52) while Gallup has it plus two (47-45).

            Intriguingly, both have the President slightly extending his nationwide lead over Romney (2.6 points with RCP and 1.5 with Pollster) at the same time that Romney is pulling even or ahead in some single state polling (lagging indicators).

            For example, look at three states which Obama won in 2008 and seemed to be heading for wins again this year, at least until NBC News/Marist came out with new numbers Thursday.  It’s now dead even 44-44 in Iowa, and Obama leads by only one (46-45) in Colorado and only two (48-46) in Nevada which I was about ready to write off to the anointed one.

            Romney has also pulled slightly ahead in the averages in Florida.  Rasmussen had him up two (46-44) in Ohio last week and today has him even (47-47) in Virginia.

            It’s so bad that Pollster, which had him up to 270 electoral votes, has had to scale that back to 257-181 (RCP Obama ahead only 237-170).

            While RCP has New Hampshire as a toss-up, Pollster continues to show it as not merely slightly for Obama (light blue) but in the safe Obama (dark blue) category.

            Similarly, pollster has not moved Wisconsin to toss-up while RCP has.

            In fact, pollster lists only Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri as toss-ups.  I’d certainly place Missouri in the leans Romney column (even PPP has Obama up only one point, 45-44).

            It’s further evidence that you have to take not only polls, but polling averages and projections, with a grain of salt.

            Look at this data out of Massachusetts for example.  We all know Obama will carry the state, but the question is by how much. The Boston Globe today has Romney only trailing by 12 and failing to hit 50 percent (46-34) while Western New England today has the margin at 22 points (56-34).  Given those numbers, the Senate race should not be surprising.  The Globe has Scott Brown up two (39-37) while WNE has Elizabeth The Liar Warren up two (45-43).

            Oh by the way, did anyone notice what Massachusetts Democrats, who like New Hampshire Democrats seem so dead set against photo ID for voting requirements, required for voting at their state convention over the weekend?

            If you said—a photo ID—you would be correct, a fact which most certainly come up when the New Hampshire House debates a photo ID bill Wednesday.

            You just can’t this stuff up.

            But I digress.  This column is supposed to be devoted exclusively to polls.

            No apologies, however.  Digressions are part of life.

            Micah Cohen, in fivethirtyeight.com, last week noted, albeit somewhat skeptically, improved support for gay marriage among African Americans since Obama came out in favor of the equality measure.

            According to Pew Research, black support of gay marriage was negative ten (39-49) prior to Obama’s statement.  ABC News now finds 59 percent of blacks support gay marriage. PPP found opposition at 44-51 percent in North Carolina has now turned to 55-39 positive.  That’s an amazing 23 point swing since Obama’s declaration, and while I don’t trust PPP’s overall numbers, I always find it valid for comparison purposes.

            Similarly, PPP finds a flip in Maryland, from 39 to 55 percent in favor while opposition has dropped from 56 to 36.

            Long Live Lady Liberty!

            Obama has set his people free!

            As for the generic congressional ballot, Rasmussen has the Republican lead up to seven points (44-37) today, but CNN had Democrats up three (49-46) last week--prior to the dismal jobs report, it should be noted..

           

Monday
Jun042012

Guest Commentary--Six Reasons To Oppose CACR 12

With the vote on the education funding amendment (CACR 12) two days away, emails are flying back and forth.  Apparently, the Republican Liberty Alliance has come out against the amendment, sending Majority Leader Peter Principle Silva into full panic mode.  I agree with the Liberty caucus, and an equally fine argument was made in this email from Bill Duncan, of New Castle, sent apparently all Manchester Representatives.  I suggest Mayor Ted Gatsas read it before he makes any further positive comments about this bill.  I'll send it along to him and herewith share it withe the world.  It has valuable links as well.  Steve V
 
 
Honorable Manchester Members of the House,
I would like to offer 6 reasons to vote against CACR 12.
Higher local property tax or lower instructional quality.
CACR 12 removes any floor under the state contribution to public education.  In 2012, $578 million, 20%, of the $2.9 billion annual budget for New Hampshire public education came from state aid.  This funding is targeted to the communities most in need.  But the Legislature cut that by another $140 million for future bienniums and without the constitutional protections, future legislatures are likely to cut more.  All of that would have to be replaced with increased local property taxes or reduced instructional program.The impact on Manchester would be large and immediate.  It is not possible to predict how much Manchester would lose over time, but the cut already in place means that Manchester will lose $13 million in state adequacy aid - down from $56.7 million to $43.8 million - as soon as CACR 12 is passed and the collar is lifted.

Our children would lose their right to an adequate education.
The New Hampshire Constitution declares that our children have a fundamental right to an adequate education, comparable to the right to vote. Legislative actions are held to a "strict scrutiny" standard by the New Hampshire courts.  That means that, if challenged, the onus is on the State to show that its actions meet the intention of the Constitution to provide an adequate education. If CACR 12 passed, education would no longer be a fundamental right in New Hampshire.  Legislative actions would need only meet a "rational basis" test.  The legislature would have "full power and authority" to exercise its responsibility to maintain a public education system.  The courts would be bound to presume that reasonable effort is constitutional and only overturn a law on inescapable grounds. If a law is rationally related to a legitimate legislative purpose, the courts would be bound to consider it constitutional. Under this standard, a New Hampshire community would virtually never prevail in a challenge to education policy or funding. (Here is Andy Volinsky on the issue)
No improvement in targeting.
The obstacles to targeting are political, not constitutional.  The State can effectively allocate state adequacy aid to communities most in need now.  CACR 12 would allow the Legislature to allocate any desired level of funding on a strictly political basis with no regard to need, balance or fairness.  If targeting were actually the concern, the Legislature could propose an amendment that would establish those requirements.  Here is Rep. Gary Richardson, who favors a targeting amendment but says this one does not measure up.

Never-ending political debate over education funding and unpredictable results.
With no constitutional guarantees or established formulas in place, the decision on how much to fund education and how to allocate it across the state would be made anew each biennium.  Communities that rely on the aid would need to mount a lobby effort each budget session to protect or expand their allocations and would need to remain vigilant at all times for rule changes that might put them at a disadvantage. 

No protection against "donor towns"
The amendment contains no prohibition against donor towns.  For instance, a Legislature desiring to lower business taxes could raise all state wide education funding from the State Wide Education Property Tax and redistribute it state wide according to a politically determined assessment of need.  The reason there are no donor towns now is the political power of the Coalition Communities.  The same would be the case after CACR 12.  Political power will continue to be the only protection New Hampshire's wealthier communities would have against contributing to the education of children in poorer communities - through the property tax, gas tax or any other mechanism.

Loss of both local control and judicial branch checks and balances
CACR 12 is one of several amendments seeking to eviscerate the role of the Judiciary in the conduct of the State's business.  The Courts are our only means of redress citizens and communities have.  In addition, local school districts have far greater control over their schools than in most any other state.  This amendment would eliminate that local control.
Respectfully,

Bill Duncan
New Castle, NH 03854
(h) 603-436-6306
(c) 603-682-4748
Friday
Jun012012

Expect Big Democratic Gains In Cities

Since my predictions for the 2012 New Hampshire House make-up depends so much on delegations from the state’s 13 cities, I’ve put this chart together of how the cities have flipped and flopped (and will likely flip again) recently.  As always for the sake of consistency, Republicans and always listed first; in other words 4-2 would mean 4 Republicans, 2 Democrats.  2012 numbers don’t add up to 134 due to loss of seats due to redistricting.  (The two Manchester/Litchfield seats are not counted here; the seats Portsmouth, Concord, Dover, and Franklin must share with towns ARE counted here).

City                 2008                2010                2012 Projection

Berlin               0-4                   1-3                   0-3

Claremont        1-4                   3-1                   2-2

Concord           0-13                 1-12                 0-13

Dover               0-9                   2-7                   1-8

Franklin            2-1                   0-3                   2-1

Keene              0-7                   0-7                   0-7

Laconia            2-3                   5-0                   3-2

Lebanon           0-4                   0-4                   0-4

Manchester      7-28                 21-14               6-25

Nashua             5-23                 22-6                 7-20

Portsmouth       0-7                   0-7                   0-7

Rochester         3-6                   7-2                   3-6

Somersworth    0-5                   2-3                   0-5

 

Total               20-114             67-67               24-103

                                               +47R/-47D       -43R/+36D                 

Friday
Jun012012

NH Jounral Had DJ Pregnancy Scoop...A Liz Warren Parallel?

This time especially I don't at all mind being scooped.  Apparenlty, the NH Journal (whatever that is) had the story on Mrs. (To Be) DJ's pregnancy before I did.  Maybe this is where former Governor Steve Merrill read it before he began spreading the rumor.  Thanks to a reader who sent me this source.  If you can't trust me, you certainly an trust the NH Journal (I repeat...whatever that is).  Of course, the Journal should have added the most important clause, one I used at least twice, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"  It's reassuring to know that even while his mind and sense of morality had failed him, DJ's body was functioning just fine, thank you.  We all trust that some "pedophile pimp" will take his confession...do Catholics still have confession?

As I noted earlier, I'm far more troubled by the series of lies D.J. told on the House floor than the lies in his personal life.  Is there a parallel here to Elizabeth Warren, part Chrokee Indian (?) and Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts?  The word "pathological" would seem to apply to both.  Don't be surprised if the Indian wannabe suffers the same fate as D.J.  In fact, I'll predict it here...Liz won't survive till November.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS – If we have it right, here’s how it went down.  Betterncourt attended the UNH School of Law graduation ceremony, but he was still a few credits shy of graduating – which was okay because he had enough credits under his belt to walk in the graduation procession.  The problem was that he claimed– via his Facebook account – that he had in fact graduated. That triggered Rep. Bob Guida to inquire about how he managed to graduate despite essentially blowing off the internship Guida had offered him.  Guida subsequently learned that Bettencourt falsified his internship documents and received credit for his no-show internship. After Guida confronted him Bettencourt said he would resign.  But that’s not what happened.  Bettencourt instead announced he would step down in two weeks and not run for re-election because he wanted to focus on his new career (presumably a career in the law, which is now not an option) and his family (his fiancée, who works at the State House, is pregnant). This disingenuousness evidently infuriated Guida, who turned to the press to get the truth out.  In the wake of media coverage of the internship issue, Bettencourt made a subsequent announcement that he would step down immediately.  Read a more detailed rundown at UnionLeader.com.

Friday
Jun012012

David Campbell Annouces For Speaker

Nashua Represenative David Campbell has become the first Democrat to enter the race for Speaker for the next session of the New Hampshire House.

He joins lame duck incumbent Republican Bill O'Brien, and Exeter Republican Lee Quandt has suggested he might run as well.

Republicans Gene Chandler (former Speaker) and Lynn Uber Ober had sent out feelers about running, but both went on record--rather stupidly in my humble opinion--as saying they would not run if O'Brien survives his November race in the Mt. Vernon/New Boston area.

Most certainly, former Democrat Speaker Terie Norelli will run again.

If Democrats take control of the House, the Democratic caucus will most likely decide whether Campbell or Norelli (or some other Democrat) will be the next Speaker.

If Republicans maintain control by a slim margin, the Republican caucus could be meaningless as it was in 2004 when Republican Doug Scamman most assuredly received minimal GOP support (the vote is by secret ballot) but nearly unanimous Democratic support to defeat the late Mike Whalley.

In a close situation, enough Republicans would certainly join Democrats to deny the Speakership to O'Brien, but if Republicans have a slight edge, it would be difficult (although not impossible) to elect a Democrat.  In that case, Quandt would most assuredly have a leg up on the wavering Chandler and Ober.

Of course, other candidates could well enter the field.  Might it not, perhaps, be refreshing to have a Speaker dedicated to what is in the best interest of the House and the people of New Hampshire rather than to either party?  Might it not be a good thing to elect a Speaker who would appoint the best and the brightest, whether Democrats or Republicans, as committee chairs?  To elect a Speaker who would scrupulously apply the rules equally to all people?

Someone wake me up.

I was dreaming there for a while.

Campbell apparently sent an email only to Democrats; I did not receive it (or I would post it in its entirety here), but as always, I do have my sources.

Welcome aboard, Rep. Campbell...to quote the late great talk master Jerry Williams...he's not a bad guy.  Plus he knows his baseball, and this after all, at least in this blog and on The Liberty Express, is "the summer of baseball".  I'm reading the story of the 1912 pennant and the building of Fenway Park now.  My guess is that Speaker Campbell has already read it.

Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year
 

It's actually one of my least favorite baseball books...so far...but hopefully it'll get better.  It's very long.