Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Jun222012

The Week In Polls--June 22--Bloomberg Puts The LIE In Outliar

            If you’re looking at polling averages this week, either from realclearpolitics.com or pollster.com, be wary.  Be very, very wary because they include data from a Bloomberg poll which puts the LIE in outliar.

            This very week in which Rasmussen has Romney up to a five point lead over Obama nationwide (48-43) and Gallup has Romney up by one (46-45), Bloomberg was out with a poll which seems straight out of fantasyland.  Not only did it have Obama 13 points ahead of Romney (53-40), but it also had Obama’s approval at plus nine (53-44) at the same time Gallup has it at minus 3 (45-48) and Rasmussen at minus 10 (44-54).

            Bloomberg also has Democrats up seven (48-41) in the generic Congressional ballot, nearly the exact opposite of Rasmussen’s numbers (38-45).  Keep in mind that Rasmussen polls every week, and god only knows when Bloomberg polls or even if any sentient human being should even take the outfit seriously.

            The Bloomberg numbers, however, are built into averages.  Thus, the caveat, don’t trust the averages until this bad data works its way out of the system.

            For example, RCP has Obama up 2.3 points (46.6-44.3) and pollster has him up less than a point (45.8-45.0).  Most likely, Romney would be ahead with pollster and very close with RCP without Bloomberg’s fantasy numbers.

            For a look at polling bias, check out fivethirtyeight.com today.  Nate Silver reports that Pew has a 3.2 and PPP a 3.1 bias in favor of Democrats.  Rasmussen on the other hand, while believed to be Republican leaning, has only a 1.3 bias for the GOP, and that’s because it uses likely rather than registered voters.

            We all need to take Polling101, a basic or remedial course, before we put much confidence in these numbers…thanks to Bloomberg.

            Is this from the same mayor who is trying to ban large sodas from New York City?  Does the polling group have anything to do with HizLessThanHonorable?

            But I digress…

            RCP has Obama dead even in popularity (47.7-47.7) while pollster has him down 1.8 points (48.4-46.6).

            New Hampshire numbers have changed due to a new Rasmussen poll which has Obama up only five points (48-43), only half as much as the recent UNH poll.  RCP now has Obama up six in the state (48.5-42.5) and fivethirtyeight projects a 4.8 point win here (52.4-47.6).  That sounds about right to me, but as I noted last week, expect changes on a regular basis.

            538 now projects Obama to win 290-248 in the Electoral College with a popular vote margin of about two points (50.4-48.5).  It notes his re-election chances at about 63-37.

            American Research Group is out with new data which won’t make Democrats quite as happy.  It has Obama’s popularity down four (45-49), an eight point turnaround from a month ago.  His performance on the economy is even worse, minus 11 (43-54).

            Gallup’s bad news is for Romney.  According to new data, opposition to electing a Mormon is not abating at all.  18 percent of Americans say they would not vote for even a well qualified Mormon.  That’s actually up a point from 1967 when Gallup began asking the question.  Even as tolerance for African Americans and other minorities has approved through the years, the Mormon bias remains.  And don’t think that won’t be bad news in a close election unless Romney can turn those numbers around in the next few months.  He needs a JFK in West Virginia moment.  Remember back in 1960, fears of electing a Catholic were very real until JFK dealt with the issue.

 By the way, I’m currently reading a new book on LBJ, very lengthy, which spends about 150 pages on that 1960 election, mostly on LBJ’s indecisiveness and then Bobby’s attempt to keep LBJ off the ticket.  It’s “Passage of Power”, part of a five-part series (3000 pages?!) on the life of LBJ, one of my least favorite presidents, right up there behind Wilson and FDR.  Just because one dislikes a certain person does not mean one should ignore that person’s historical significance.  This is a fine book.

But I digress…

Actually, that’s enough of a look at polls for the week.  Bloomberg has turned me off the whole ridiculous thing, and I’m going back to the 1960 election.  Some Democrats actually thought Adlai should be given a third nod.  While Lyndon thought the power remained in the Senate and House, Bobby figured out that governors controlled most delegates, a lesson never to be forgotten. 

Illustration by David Plunkert

More Photos »

THE PASSAGE OF POWER

The Years of Lyndon Johnson

By Robert A. Caro

Illustrated. 712 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $35.

A good book about a terrible president, 100 pages of footnotes!

Thursday
Jun212012

John Babiarz To Run For Governor Again--New EMail Policy Announced

Barring a packet from a city or town clerk lost in the mail since last Friday, all filings for state office are now in and posted on the Secretary of State's web site.

As well as downloading the Republican and Democratic filings, you might want to click on the "Declarations of Intent" page.  There you will find candidates who have made official their intent to seek ballot status by acquiring the necessary number of signatures, usually as Independents or as Libertarians (but not necessarily so).  There will be a separate line on the November ballot for these candidates.

Two names appear for Governor, for example, Peter Cordatos, of Bennington (???) and John Babiarz, of Grafton, who has run as the Libertarian candidate in the past.  I was kind of hoping that Babiarz would run as a Republican this time, but it was not to be.  Hey, didn't I see him wearing a Fire Chief's hat on a Channel 9 news report over the weekend?  John Babiarz, apparently, is a man of many hats.  Whether or not he'll be allowed in the media debate is another question.  I recall one year when he was not only in the debates but to me at least (a proud libertarian), he appeared to win.

Yesterday, I noted Cynthia Dokmo for State

Officially, there appear to be 25 pages of Republican filings (not including filings for the party convention; Democrats don't use the filing process for this).  There are 21 pages of filings for Democrats, but that doesn't mean Republicans have filled vacancies for more offices.  In fact, a quick look at the filings reveals that Democrats have used filings much more "efficiently".   That's another way of saying that there are no nearly as many primaries among Democrats. 

A more complete analysis will follow next week, but let's take a random example for now.  Let's go with Bedford (Hillsborough District 7).  For six State Rep seats, six Democrats have filed (probably none will win come November) while nine Republicans have filed including the husband and wife team of Keith Murphy (one of my favorite Reps) and Kelleigh Domaingue Murphy, daughter of Jackie who in the past served as both my Ward 8 Manchester State Representative and Alderman.

Were I in Bedford, I would enthusiastically vote for the Murphys, but the point here is that three of the Republican candidates for State Rep from Bedford will be eliminated in the primary while all six Democrats will advance (till November at least and at most).

This is the case throughout the state, but it'll take a few days to review all the filings, and I've got to run to Concord High School for a taping of Denis Goddard's weekly community service TV show.  It runs on many outlets throughout the state; I do it once a year or so, and it's always fun.  In fact, I thought Denis (one N is correct) was going to run as a Democrat for one of the three State Rep seats in Hopkinton/Concord District 10, but he's not on the list for either Democrats or Intent filers.

As for ballot placement, gone are the days when the Secretary of State draws a letter to determine where the alphabet will begin.  It's more complicated than that now.  The drawing was held yesterday.  Democrats get the left hand column on one-third the state ballots, Republicans on one-third, and other candidates on the final one-third.  You'd have to check to see where your town or ward falls.

As for the primary, another drawing determined whose name will appears first on the ballot, and it's based on the number or candidates in a given field, and a drawing for each one (up to 12 candidates).  However, the official drawing is not totally valid since two names came in for Hudson Rep after the drawing, so a new drawing for a 14-member field will have to be held.  If it sounds too complicated, it is, and you probably don't need to know the details.  It's all based on the fairly recent argument that there's an advantage (however slight) in being listed first on the ballot, so alphabetizing is simply no longer deemed an appropriate determination.  Ironically, however, the number 1 surfaced in many drawings yesterday which indicates that the first listed alphabetically will appear first on many ballots.

Oh yes, guess what?  As an update from yesterday, it now appears that no less than 11 of the 14 Republicans running for 11 seats in the Hudson/Pelham district (Hillsborough 37) are from…the envelope please…Hudson.  Thus, with 2010 top vote getter Sean Doherty of Pelham (the ONLY current Rep from Pelham!) not running again, it is entirely possible that Pelham, WHICH DESERVES FOUR REPRESENTATIVES OF ITS OWN, will get…the envelope please…ZERO.   Democrats filled all 11 seats; you’re way ahead of me…nine from Hudson, and only two from Pelham.

 So much for redistricting fairness!  NOT!

I'm not making it up; check the Secretary of State's web site for details. 

NO MORE FREE INFORMATION TO ALL…

By the way, due to Speaker Bill O’Brien’s new policy attempting to stifle freedom of speech on the State web site, this is the last posting I will distribute to all Representatives.  I am creating a new posting and anyone who finds (or has found in the past) objectionable will be eliminated from receipt.  Those who have complained in the past have already been eliminated from the list (there’s no getting back on…you’re going to miss some great analysis in coming weeks…including my numbers for all 24 Senate districts).  I have always sent everything I write to everyone since I have always believed that if one person has the chance to know something, everyone should have that chance.  Equality is equality, but that apparently is no longer an operative assumption. 

Those who want to get off need only drop me a line….and at the same time I eliminate you, I expect you to drop me from your list of petulant commentary (yes Al and Timmy and Fred and Will that would include—but is not limited to--you...you don't have to thank me).  Thus, I can no longer be accused of offending any tender sensibilities by this or any future Speaker.  If you wish to get on the list, also just drop me a line…last time I made the offer, I received word from a political scientist in Buffalo, New York.  

            Everything will continue to be posted on nhinsider.com.

            Media deemed chronically slipshod, error-prone, or overly offensive have also been dropped from my media list (there’s only one so far).  I do after all believe in equal access to news from all those worthy of it.

Wednesday
Jun202012

Auf Wiedersehen To A Libertarian Trio

            Sad to say since I consider myself a Libertarian first and foremost, the spirit of less government intrusion into our lives may have peaked and be on the decline.

            That appears to be the case based on some Libertarian Reps and Senators not seeking re-election to the New Hampshire House.   Seth Cohn, of Canterbury; Cameron DeJong, of Manchester, and Andy Manuse, of Derry—all Republicans--share two things in common.  They are among my favorite Reps, and they all have decided not to run again.  So too with young Kyle Jones, of Rochester, although Laura may well be back.

            So too with the three most Libertarian State Senators, James Forsythe, of Strafford, Ray White, of Bedford, and Andy Sanborn, who moved from Henniker and now faces an uphill battle in a new district (which includes Bedford).

            Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Libertarians, who are least fond of government, decide not to labor all that long in government vineyards.

            Perhaps, a new crop of Libertarians will take their place, but I certainly will miss these six individuals most of all, and I suspect they just might be irreplaceable.

            For sure, Mark Warden, of Goffstown, will most likely be back.  J.R. Hoell, of Bow, has a much better chance of getting re-elected now that two other incumbents from his district have decided not to run; and I’m encouraged that a new hero of mine, Tammy Simmons, of Ward 10 Manchester, will survive since Democrats have put up a chronic No Show Katsiantonis to run against her come November.

            Sadness, of course, is always tempered with joy, and as I look at the list of people not choosing not to run again, I am absolutely ecstatic in a handful of cases, but I think I choose to simply let them fade off into the sunset without even naming names.  Suffice it to say that anti-gay marriage forces have lost their biggest supporter.

            Among the Democrats I will most miss are Christine Hamm, gnadige Frau from Hopkinton—what fun we had on Ways and Means and Local and Regulated Revenues over the years—and Steve DeStefano, of Bow, a real gentleman.  Oh yes, Kathy Taylor, of Franconia, as well…not to mention David Pierce who most likely will be moving on to the Senate.

            Most Democrats, it seems, are in fact running again, and they are joined by many who lost two years ago but stand a good chance of getting back this November—Joel Winters certainly tops that list.

            On the non-Libertarian Republican side, I won’t be the only one missing Division I Finance Chair Bill Belvin, of Amherst.  His dedication to duty was phenomenal; he did his homework and will be missed by the institution as well as by me personally (although maybe we’ll have a better chance of trimming the Arts budget without him here; we can only hope).

            In all honesty, for every person I will miss, there are probably two people I…well, let’s be kind and end it right there.  Official numbers may come from the clerk’s office later, but my guess is that fewer people than usual are not seeking re-election this time around. 

            Seth Cohn, Cam DeJong, and Andy Manuse—you will be missed most of all.  So many people pretend to be in favor of less government intrusion in our lives, but it's only talk.  You three walked the walk and will be missed by someone who continues to fight to get government "out of our wallets, out of our beds, and off our backs."  (Well, Andy, you missed one of those, but you are forgiven).

            Auf wiedersehen.

           

Wednesday
Jun202012

Expect Independent Cynthia Dokmo To Win In Amherst

            Regular readers of this blog will note that I tend to discount the possibility of anyone winning as an Independent, that is to say without the endorsement (and the “straight ticket” votes which go with it) of either the Republican or Democratic Party.

            You will also recall the rule that the bigger the district, the less chance of an Independent pulling off a victory.  That’s why I noted that Independent Art Beaudry, a lifelong Democrat, is much more likely to pull votes away from Democrat Donna Soucy in Senate District 18 (approximately 55,000 people) than to actually win.

            Having reiterated all that, I am ready to make a prediction that former Republican Represenative Cynthia Dokmo, running as an Independent for one of three seats in Amherst (Hillsborough District 22), will pull a Murkowski and win.  She only needs 150 signatures to get on the ballot, an easy task, and I suspect she will find Democrats, Republicans, and Undeclared voters more than happy to “bullet” her come November.

            The population of Amherst is only 11,201.  Until redistricting, Amherst was paired with Milford in a megadistrict which would have made it much more difficult to prevail as an independent.

            For much of the past decade, Dokmo topped the entire ticket in the Amherst-Milford area.  Two years ago, she was narrowly defeated in a Republican primary (yes, they were out to get her for her more moderate stance on some issues).  The eighth and final finisher in the primary received 1293 votes; Dokmo had 1283.

            Let’s just look at 2008, a fairly bad year for Democrats.  She topped the ticket with 7123 votes to 6630 for the second place finisher and 5612 for the eighth place (and final) winner.

            She then mounted a write-in campaign (virtually impossible) and managed to pull 2012 votes (far short of the 4665 for the eighth place finisher in November, but impressive nevertheless).

            This is not an “out on a limb” prediction.

            I am very confident that Independent Dokmo will deny Republicans a sweep of the three Amherst seats (in fact, I think Democrat Shannon Chandley, a former Rep, could win as well, but that’s another story). 

            The advantage for being on the party line is very real, but Dokmo is the ideal candidate to pull off this feat.  (The last time I recall anyone doing it was 2000 when a certain Libertarian—on neither the Republican nor Democratic ballot—managed to take the third and final seat in Manchester Ward 8.  Ah yes, I remember it well).

            I’m not predicting Cynthia Dokmo will come in first, but I do think she’ll be among the top three finishers, and thus a winner.

            As you look at the filings on the Secretary of State’s web site, don’t ignore the link for those filing with signature (in other words, to run as Independents).  I nearly missed it and began to wonder about Cynthia. Then, lo and behold, I found her.  I like her a great deal (of course, she’s less financially conservative than I am, but then so is everybody).  So apparently did former Republican House leadership; she was placed on the Finance Committee.

            I congratulate her for choosing this course of action.

            In this district, Republicans already have a primary.  One of the four (Judiciary Chair Robert Rowe, Ways and Means Chair Steve Stepanek, Peter Hansen, and Reed Panasiti) will be eliminated in the primary. 

            Stephen Morgan and John Shonle join Chandley to round out the Democratic field.

            Don’t confuse the three-seat Amherst district with the single seat floterial (District 41) which combines Bedford and Amherst (it appears to be Democrat Len Gerzon versus new Bedford Republican Laurie Sanborn, wife of former Senator Andy Sanborn, in that one).

            It would not out of the question for another Independent to pull off a November win (former Democrat Betty Hall of Brookline--Hills. 26--comes to mind--it's only a two-member district), but that would be a long shot.

            Cynthia Dokmo is no long shot; bank on it.

            Her vote could really matter as well.  I started last night to run my new predictions based on current filings, and I have Republicans just barely holding on to the majority in Hillsborough County, either 61-60-1 or 62-59-1 (the one being gnadige Frau Dokmo).

             But that's a story for another day...it seems stories for other days are piling up.

Wednesday
Jun202012

Filing Period Reveals Redistricting Flaws!

            File this one under the category, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

            Better yet, let’s create a new category.  Let’s file this one under the category of “calling a tail a leg won’t make a horse have five legs because calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

            Even as House legal counsel/lobbyist/spinmeister Ed Mosca rushed to the media to claim that yesterday’s State Supreme Court decision on redistricting was a total vindication for the House, the filing facts prove just the opposite is true.

            Remember how part of the debate focused around Pelham which deserves four Representatives of its own, but might in fact wind up with zero according to the plan Mosca so desperately wants to defend.

            With filing period completed for individuals, Republicans have filled the 11 seats for Hillsborough District 37 (the Hudson-Pelham grouping), and more than 11 candidates have filed.  In fact, 12 have thus necessitating a Republican primary, but guess what?

            Of the 12 candidates who filed, only three are from Pelham.  One will be eliminated in the primary.  Thus, if this district comes out the way Mosca and Republicans undoubtedly hope it will, Pelham will be deprived (some would say “cheated”) out of at least one Rep it deserves, most likely two.

            So much for total vindication!

            So much for attempting to call a tail a leg!

            On the Democratic side, only six individuals filed for the 11 seats (the party has until 5 p.m. today to fill the five vacancies). 

           Guess what?

           Slow down; don't get too far ahead of me.

           Yes indeed, only one of the six is from Pelham.  Had Pelham been separted from Hudson, as it should have been, chances are that four individuals would have come forth from each party.  As it is now, Pelham is dominated nearly two to one by Hudson, so those thinking of running from Pelham most likely are discouraged by the odds.  To right that wrong was the purpose of the amendment in 2006.

           The arguments made by those of us against this House plan are coming true very quickly.

           Pelham, it very much appears, will be denied the four Reps it deserves as expressed by more than two-thirds of voters in the state who approved the Constitutional Amendment in 2006.

           But Pelham is not the only example.

           As everyone in the Manchester delegation knows very well (remember how they all "promised" to vote to sustain John Lynch's veto) Manchester deserves 33.2 Reps, but it was potentially dropped to 31 Reps by the House plan, and if Republicans have anything to do with it, the potentiality will become a reality, at least for one of the seats.

          Only two Republicans filed for the two-member float (Hillsborough District 44) which includes Manchester Wards 8 and 9 and Litchfield.  One is from Manchester, Andy Martel; the other is from Litchfield, George “Forget About That Senate Race” Lambert.  Thus, the only way for Manchester to retain these two seats will be for a Democrat to beat Lambert.  Only one Democrat has filed so far; that would be Gary Haworth from my own ward 8; I seem to recall talking with him from door-to-door travels in the past. 

         Welcome aboard, Democrat Gary Haworth.

         No, you just can’t make this stuff up.  Even as some would try to convince us total vindication was delivered by the courts, the truth is the filing period has proven the very worst of expectations about this redistricting scheme have come to pass.

         And that’s just the first two examples I’ve looked at.

        Quite clearly, the will of the people as expressed in 2006 is not being followed, the Court notwithstanding.

        Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not about to blame the court.  I’m not like Rep. Paul Mirski who from the House floor two weeks ago called the judges “unethical”.  I respect the judges.

       The judges didn’t create this redistricting mess.  The House did, and now we all have to live with a mess which could have been very easily fixed.  What we don't have to do AND MUST NEVER DO is pretend that there’s any such thing as vindication here…just like we don’t have to pretend that calling a tail a leg will give a horse (or a cow) five legs!