Rep Steve Vaillancourt


The Week In Polls--July 25--Democratic Enthusiasm Wanes

Even as Barack Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney by merely a point in national polls but by three points or so in the ten battleground states, Gallup has discovered a trend which could really hurt Democratic chances come November.

Democrats are significantly less likely to vote this year than they were in either 2008 or 2004.  Of course, these numbers will certainly change by election day, but Gallup finds that only 39 percent of Democrats, as opposed to 51 percent of Republicans, are more enthusiastic than usual about voting.

In 2008, Democrats held a 61 to 35 percent advantage in this important category.  In 2004, their advantage was 68 to 51 percent.

As the election nears, we most likely will find numbers turning up on the enthusiastic question.  In fact, at this time in 2008, the overall enthusisam number was 48 percent; it increased to 64 percent prior to the election.  At this time in 2004, the enthusiasm level was 59 percent, but it jumped to 65 percent by election day.

Both parties combined, the enthusiasm level stands at 44 percent right now.

Most pundits believe that Obama will lose much of winning marginal base of younger and minority voters from 2008 if enthusisam remains muted this year.  

That's one reason why Democrats need to be concerned even as Obama continues to enjoy a 1.3 percent lead (46.3-45.0) in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.  Most polls (except Rasmussen) include the entire universe of potential voters, not merely likely voters.  Thus, Obama could easily lose two or three points depending on turnout.

Today, for example, Rasmussen has Romney up three points (47-44); Gallup has Romney up one (46-45), but other polls out this week give the edge to Obama--he was up as much as six points in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll yesterday (49-43).  Go figure!

Among the ten battleground states (Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Michigan), Obama leads by 3.5 points.  Five Thirty Eight tells us that Obama has led in 43 polls in those states since June 1 while Romney has led ikn only nine (there have been four ties).

Those numbers, while good talking point notes for Democrats, don't really mean all that much.

As always, trends are more important than past numbers.

538 has Florida as a dead toss-up, projecting 49.5 percent for each candidate.  Virginia is next closest with Obama up 50.0-48.9.  Then it's Ohio with Obama up 50.2-48.2, then Colorado at 50.3-48.1 for Obama, and New Hampshire (52-48) and Nevada (51,5-47.1) for Obama.

Interesting, pollster has Obama leading in electoral votes 272-191 with only four states rated too close to call--Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.  Even if Romney were to win all four of those states, he'd still be shy by three electoral votes.  Guess which state would give him the four electoral votes to carry the election? 

Mais oui, this we!

Two polling anamolies stand out this week.  Survey USA has Obama up five points (48-43) in Florida at the same time that Republican Senatorial candidate Connie Mack has pulled six points (48-42) ahead of Democrat Nelson.  Go figure.

And just look at Michigan.  The Democrat house organ, PPP, has Obama up 14 points (53-39) while the same day, Mithell Research actually has Romney up one (45-44) in the state.  Yesterday, Rasmussen had Obama up six (48-42) in the state.  Any wonder why I trust Rasmussen much more than PPP?  PPP, on the other hand, only has Obama up six (49-43) in Pennsylvania, so we can imagine it's really a dead heat there.  There's also a Survey USA poll which has Romney withn six in Minnesota (46-40)

Mass Inc (which I'd never heard of before) has Elizabeth I Really Am An Indian Warren up two over Scott Brown in Massachusetts, but it's only 40-38, and I suspect this is one time the mass of undecided voters will not break for the challenger.

American Research Group is out with nationwide approval numbers at minus five (46-51) for Obama.  Both Gallup and Rasmussen have it at minus three (45-48 abd 48-51); the RCP average is minus 0.8 (47.1-47.9)

I didn't report here last week, but I did jot down these numbers--30, 19, 8, and 8.  That's 30 percent of Republican who want Condi Rice to be Obama's choice for V.P., 19 percent (including me) for Marco Rubio, and 8 percent for both Paul Ryan and Chris Christie.  Neither Tim Palwenty nor Senator Portman come with enough support to be even listed. 

Maybe I should take the summer off from this polling pursuit....but then maybe not.  An addiction is after all, an addiction.


Berlin Republican Is First Filing Period Casualty

If you didn't know that you have to have been a New Hampshire resident for the past seven years to qualify to run for State Senate, you're not alone.

Berlin Republican Mark P. Evans, a State Senate candidate for District 1, has been removed from the ballot for failing to meet the residency requirement.

We have learned that shortly after the June filing period, the Secretary of State's office received an anonymous tip that Evans does not have the necessary residency requirement.

Rather than fight the charges, as Fergie Cullen foolishly did a decade ago, Evans simply allowed his name to be removed from the ballot.  Of course, he had committed fraud when he filed his candidacy paperwork asserting that he met all the qualifications, but at least it was unintentional fraud.

That was clearly not the case with Cullen who, with a straight face, took his case all the way to the Ballot Law Commission and lost a decade ago.  Clearly, Cullen had not lived in the state seven years in a row when he decided to run for Senate, and the Commission agreed with Democrats who challenged his candidacy.

It's one of the little known attempts to deceive the public in the state's electoral history.  Rather than be shunted aside in disgrace, Cullen actually went on to serve as Republican party chair, probably the worst one in the history of the state, and now writes an op-ed regularly for the Union Leader.

I guess we can expect disgraced D. J. Bettencourt to sign aboard with the Union Leader which doesn't seem to care about fraud when it chooses its writers.  If it's good enough for Fergie, why not Deej?  Why not Mark P. Evans.

Even with the Evans' departure, Republian voters have a decision to make come primary day.  Running for the seat being vacated by the great John Gallus are Debi Warner, from Littleton, wife of a former State Representative, and Frank Dumaine, from Colebrook.  The winner will meet former Democratic State Chair Jeff Woodburn, from Dalton, in Novemvber.  Woodburn was about as effective as party chair for the Democrats in 1998 as Cullen was for Republicans prior to John Sununu's inheritng the mess a few years. 

That is to say both were terrible.  Current Democratic Chair Raymond Charles Buckley was living with me during Woodburn's chairmanship, and it was a rare day indeed when Raybo did not come home swearing a blue streak about Woodburn's incompentence.

Hey, maybe Woodburn will be a better senator than he was a party chair, but I suspect he'll never get the chance.  I'd rate Warner the slight favorite in this Great North Counry race .   

With the Gallus departure, the District 1 race shapes up as ene of the most interesting in the state, right along with one at the other numerical end, District 24 in which Republican Senator Nancy Stiles faces former Senate President Bev Hollingworth.


Only Rep. Sova Perfect On HRA Score Sheet

With the New Hampshire legislative session firmly behind us (is it really?); it’s time for various rating agencies to come out with scores for the 400 Representatives.

The one I most appreciate, from the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance (those liberty-minded folks who appear with yellow sheets on session days), should be out soon.]

In the meantime, we have numbers in various forms from the ultra right wing House Republican Alliance.  You can get the scores alphabetically by Represenative or from the highest to the lowest by going to

In the past, each year is scored individually but it appears that the 262 votes alluded to here are for 2011 and 2012 combined.  This score sheet it worth a look because not only does it tell us who is the most conservative, but with such a wide base of votes considered, the result also serves as a good proxy for attendance (the House should be releasing those official figures very soon).

Charles Sova, from the small Grafton County town of Orange, is the only Rep with a perfect 100 score.  He was present for 261 votes and sided with the HRA each and every time.  I’m not sure that’s such a good thing; in fact, I suspect it is not, but hey, I’m only the messenger with this report.

HRA co-chair Dan McGuire, of Epsom, and his wife Carol, EDA Committee Chair, both scored 98, Carol siding with the HRA 257 times, Dan 254.  Others with 98 (but with less stellar attendance) were Thomas Howard, of Croydon; Stephen Palmer, of Milford; Paul Ingbretson, of Pike; Guy Comtois, of Center Barnstead; and Walter Kolodziej, of Windham, all Republicans of course.

At the other end of the scale, we should expect to find all Democrats, and in fact we do—Marsha Pelletier, of Dover, 6 percent; William Hatch, of Gorham, Marcia Moody, of Newmarket, Robin Reed, of Portsmouth, and Charles Weed, of Keene, all at seven percent.  Leader Terie Norelli, of Portsmouth, had 9; Mary Jane Wallner, of Concord, 8; Susan Almy, of Lebanon, 10.

I suspect that will be a badge of honor for them among their colleagues.  

I’ll run down (both literally and figuratively) the entire Manchester delegation on the next edition of The Liberty Express (Monday at 10 p.m. on Channel 23, also available on line at

While we’ve hit the extremes here, we probably should get some comparative scores from people in the middle.  I always begin with Neal Kurk, of Weare, former Finance Chair.  I suspect he’s fallen off this year as the HRA has gone more to the right…the envelope please.  Yes, I am correct; Rep. Kurk gets 63, 15 points less than my score of 78.  I was actually above 90 for the first year, but with so many social issues coming forth in the second year, I slipped back in the pact…78 remains higher than I would like to be with this group.  Seth Cohn, of Canterbury, got an 84, so let’s say something in the 80 range would be a good Libertarian score.

We anxiously await the Liberty score sheets.

Disgraced GOP leader D.J. Bettencourt got 84 from the HRA; Peter Principle Silva, Deej’s last minute replacement, 88; Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker, of Greenland, 84; Shawn His Vileness Jasper only a 75 (lower than but close to my score, but you can be sure, we were on the opposite side of many, many issues; Finance Chair Ken Weyler 84; Ways and Means Chair Steve Stepanek 86; David Hess, of Hooksett, only 65; the late Leo Pepino 74.

The lowest scoring Republican (this will make her happy) appears to be Julie Brown, of Rochester, at 33; David Kidder, of New London, was at 35.  Hey, my friend Irene Messier got above 50 percent this year; 53.

The highest ranking Democrat appears to be one not running for re-election, Manchester’s John Gimas at 36; Dom Domingo, of Dover, was at 34; Roger Berube, of Somersworth, 30.


Gatsas And Union Leader Wrong In Calling For Alderman's Resignation

First a caveat--Ward 11 Alderman (and former School Board member) Russ Ouellette has never been one of my favorite elected officials.  I don't live in that ward, but I would most likely never vote for him if I did.

Having said all that, let me assert his right to serve.  He has been elected many, many times, usually by margins of landslide proportions.  It would be a slap in the face of the voters who elected Alderman Ouellette for him to resign as he faces charges which may or may not have any validity to them.

Thus I totally disagree with a man I greatly respect, Mayor Ted Gatsas, and with a newspaper for which I have virtually no respect, the Union Leader.

They have both called for Alderman Ouellette to resign.  Of course, the decision is his, but I don't believe he should be pressured to resign at all.  In fact, I found it most distasteful that both the Union Leader (in a story that ran across the entire front page a week ago Saturday) and Channel 9 (in numerous reports) decided to run with this story big time prior to charges even being filed.

Now that charges have been brought, Alderman Ouellette should be afforded the same rights as any other American, the presumption of innocence.

Why should anyone presumed innocent be forced to resign just because a mayor and a newspaper think he should?

The Union Leader managed to virtually cover up a report of former Attorney General and powerful lawyerTom Rath's DWI offense a few years back (I'll never forget; I kept the bold all caps headline from the Portsmouth Herald, but couldn't find even a story in the Union Leader; someone told me the paper had buried the story, obviously because of its FOT--friend of Tom--status).

The Union Leader never called on Representative Steve Stepanek to resign when his DWI surfaced just after the 2010 election, not even when Bill O'Brien picked him to chair the Ways and Means Committee.

For weeks, the Union Leader attempted to cover up the story of former State Rep Mike Brunelle's DWI arrest (in fact, he was not only drunk, he attempted to flee from police).

It's queer how some people are exonerated by this newspaper which chooses to virtually ignore stories, at least in positions of prominence, while other people (presumably those the paper dislikes) are singled out for special approbation.

Of course, it could be that it was simply a busy news day when Rath was caught and it was a slow news day when the report on Ouellette came in, but if you believe that, there's this tract of swamp land in Florida with your name on it.

More likely, it depends which side of the bed Joe W. McQuaid or Drew Cline get up on in the morning.  The paper suggests that if he's not guilty, Ouellette can always run again in the future.  What kind of perversion is that of the innocent until proven guilty American precept? 

That's a hell of a way to run a newspaper.

It's a hell of a way to run a city too, Mayor Gatsas.

There'll be time enough to call for Alderman Ouellette’s resignation WHEN and IF he is found guilty of these charges.  Until then, he should continue to serve the voters of Ward 11 who apparently like the job he's been doing for all these many years.

One would expect a little more caution, especially in the wake of calls for the ouster of the Frenchman--what was his name?--the head of the International Monetary Fund--who was charged with rape in the New York Hotel room.  Anybody can be charged with anything, but that doesn't make that "anybody" guilty, at least not in this country.

The Union Leader and others would do the public a much greater service if they focused on those who run for office and then decline to show up to do the work once elected.  There's a new attendance report on House members just out, and wouldn't it be refreshing if the Union Leader (and other papers) called for the defeat of all incumbents with less than a 50 percent attendance on roll call votes.  Yes, that would include both Katsiatoni, Tom from Ward 8 and George from Ward 10, who have a history of missing 70 or 80 percent of the votes and then sign up again.

Shame on the Union Leader and shame on Ted Gatsas for this headlong rush to judgment regarding Alderman Ouellette.


GOP Chair Believes O'Brien Will Lose

Having just returned from a three hour pilgrimmage to one of the most well connected Republican operatives in the state (no, I'm not going to reveal a name here), I am prepared to report that Republican State Party Chair Wayne McDonald is worried.

He may not be saying it publicly, but McDonald privately is confiding to GOP operatives that House Speaker Bill O'Brien will likely lose his election for State Rep in Hillsborough District 5 (Mt. Vernon, New Boston) come November (assuming he gets by the September primary).  Three Republicans, including Bob Mead whom O'Brien fired (or allowed to leave, if you prefer such niceties) as his chief of staff, are running for the two seats there.

In my projections released here yesterday, I didn't name whom I thought would lose, but I predicted the two member district would be split, one Republican and one Democrat come November 7.

Apparently the party chair is more pessimistic than I am, offering behind the scenes word that O'Brien will not be back.  Maybe Chairman McDonald fears Republicans will lose both those seats.  On the other hand, maybe he's simply hoping that O'Brien will lose and thus avoid further tainting the Grand Old Party in this Grand Old State.

Hint--My source and I spoke of our separate experiences in two of the world's greatest cities, Berlin, Germany, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada although I must say, he was in Berlin before I was born, a decade before the wall even went up.  Ah yes, those were the good old days when Berlin was the spy capital of the world. 

As they said in the West after that glorious November day in 1989, "Ich will die Mauer wieder haben."

Ich will nicht Bill O'Brien wieder haben!