Rep Steve Vaillancourt


State By State, Obama More Or Less Dooms Dems

Just for the fun of it, I've put together a chart of Barack Obama's approval in critical states.  This is not merely an average of polls, but it's a comparison of two averages, Real Clear Politics and Pollster (from the Huffington Post).  In most cases, the two services are pretty much in agreement.

What's fascinating (and entirely predictable) is how that Obama's numbers seem to mean the difference in Uinted States Senate races in these states.  Democrats should win easily in states where Obama is "only" ten to 12 or fewer points below water (Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey).  

Where Obama is 18 or more points underwater, Democratic candidates are pretty much doomed...even if they won't yet admit it (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas where it's so bad that the Democrat has actually dropped out of the Senate race).  In Kentucky, it's so bad that the Democratic Senate candidate, Allison Lundegren Grimes, refused to admit three times that she had voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 (she was a delegage for him in 2012!).

Then, by something more than coincidence, the states which are in play are the states in which Obama is near what appears to be a tipping point of minus 12 points (Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hamsphire).

As of Saturday, Obama stood at -10.8 in the Real Clear Politics average nationwide; Gallup had him at -18 (39-57); Rasmussen at -5 (47-52).  The Pollster average was -10.2 (it seems to count Rasmussen numbers every day they come out, a boon to Obama).

State           Pollster Average/RCP Average

Alaska -24.6/Not Given

Arkansas -28.1/ -27.7

Colorado -14.5 / -13.3

Georgia -7.7/ -13.3

Iowa -12.6 /-11.7

Kansas -25.2/ -24.0

Kentucky -29.3/ -29.5

Louisiana -17.9/ -20.5

Michigan -4.7/ -3.0

Minnesota -5.2/ -6.3

New Jersey -5.6/ -11.4

New Hampshire -15.6/ -13.2

North Carolina -10.7/ -12.2

Oregon -5.5 /-2.3

Virginia -8.8/ -10.0


These numbers might explain why North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagen is clinging to a slight lead and also why Michelle Nunn (if she were only a better candidate) might have a shot in Georgia.  They certainly explain why the once highly regarded candidacy of Monica Wehby in Oregon has gone nowhere (plus she has problems of her own).  


The numbers also explain why Senator Mark Warner is not quite as far ahead in Virginia as many had thought he would be (he's up 11 points), and what about Cory Booker in New Jersey?  He'll probably win easily, but not as easily as in a "normal' year; he's up 12.3 in the RCP average.

In Colorado, Mark Udall is hurt not only by Obama's numbers, but the Denver Post which endorsed Udall six years ago and Obama twice but came out with an endorsement for Republican Cory Gardner this week. (I still have Udall winning; Democrats recently have done better than polling would indicate in that state).



A Look Inside The WMUR NH Senate Poll (+6 Shaheen)

Five Thirty Eight gives Jeanne Shaheen a 87 percent chance of holding her Senate seat; Huffington Post puts it at 66 percent, and the Washington Post makes it 99 percent (but then the Washingrton Post is going with 95 percent for Republican chances of taking the Senate and is using 99 percent for many suspect Senate races, including many counting Democrats out).

If those numbers seem to send a message that Scott Brown should just give up, there is actually at least a ray of hope if we look to the internals of the WMUR Granite State Poll which was released last week and shows Shaheen ahead 47-41.

This poll is fascinating, first because UNH pollster Andy Smith set the political world on its head back in August when he had Brown within two points.  Secondly, Smith uses the proper percentage of Republican vs. Democratic votrers (plus three percent R).  He also provides detailed internals, so we can analyze exactly what his numbers mean.  Finally, he's actually given us two sets of numbers to analyze this time, "likely voters" in which case 17 percent remain undedided and then "likely voters with leaners" in which case the undecided are narrowed down to ten percent.
For this excercise, I'll always list the likely voters first; (then the likely with leaners in parentheses).

Thus, the WMUR poll has it 44-38 (and 47-41) for Shaheen.
That's bad news for Brown because you'll note that even with the first group of undecided pushed to decide, the margin remains six percent.

However, there's one bit of very good news, at least potentially good news, for Brown.

Remember that back in the summer, I suggested that after the September primary, Republicans voters who preferred Bob Smith or Jim Rubens would fall into the Brown column.

So far, that has NOT happened.  Andy Smith has Jeanne Shaheen carrying Democrats 87-3 with 9 percent undecided (90-4-6 in the second grouping).  That's to be expected.

However, he has Scott Brown ahead with Republicans only 76-5 with a full 18 percent undecided (it's 81-6 with still 11 percent undecided in the second grouping).

That should come as alarming news to Team Shaheen because one has to figure that most of the 18 (or 11 percent) of undecided Republicans will eventually come around to voting for Scott Brown.

If he gets close to 95 percent of Republican votes as Shaheen is getting with Democratic voters, then he will be in striking distance  because most models foresee a three to six point Republican advantage in turnout.

However,  Brown clearly needs to make some inroads with Independent voters, and here two things are working against him.  His favorable/unfavorable rating in the WMUR poll is just awful, minus 19 points (29-48) while Shaheen's is plus 14 (50-36).  Brown is apparently even less popular than President Obama who is 13.2 points underwater in the state in the Real Clear Politics average and 16 points in the UNH poll.

It's tough to win when oly 29 percent rate you favorably.  The Shaheen strategy has obviously been to drive up Brown's negatives, and it appears to have worked.

Even worse news for Brown is that he trails 36-29 among Independent voters with 32 percent undecided.

When leaners are included, however, he goes from down seven to down 11 points (46-35 percent with 16 percent undecided).
In other words, this first group of people pushed to state a preference are opting for Shaheen.

Even if Brown gets his Republican total up close to 95 percent, he cannot afford to lose the Independent vote by 11 percent (three or four percent maybe, but not 11).

Here's another intriguing internal.  Shaheen, and this is no surprise, leads 73-7 (then 90-4) among those who approve of Obama.  Scott Brown leads but only 48-35 (and then 68-18) with those who disapprove, and there are far more of them. Among those neutral on Obama (very few in number), Shaheen leads 46-16 (and 50-24).

Brown's path to victory, if we are to believe these numbers (and I do) is to lock up the Smith and Rubens Republicans who have not yet come aboard; that should get him within two points; and then to  cut Shaheen's margin with Independents, especially among those who disapprove of Obama, in half.  It's a tall task, but certainly Brown has more than a one percent chance of pulling it off.  I'd rank his odds at slightly better than those from Five Thirty Eight (13 percent), slightly worse than those from Pollster (34 percent), probably about one in five.
As for the male/female split, Brown leads 44-38 (48-39) with the former, Shaheen 48-33 (54-35) with the latter.  

Could it be that Scott Brown is just too good looking to appeal to women, that his looks are intimidating?  

Perhaps, but only on the fringes.  I suspect this race will be decided by just how unpopular Barack Obama in in New Hampshire come November 4.  Rest assured, Jeanne Shaheen will do just about anything to keep him out of the state between now and then.

Note the RCP average includes only the four most recent polls. Pollster includes many more.



Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEShaheen (D)Brown (R)Spread
RCP Average 9/20 - 10/5 -- -- 49.3 42.8 Shaheen +6.5
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 532 LV 4.2 47 41 Shaheen +6
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 1286 LV 2.7 49 46 Shaheen +3
CBS News/NYT/YouGov 9/20 - 10/1 1260 LV 3.0 48 41 Shaheen +7
ARG 9/27 - 9/29 600 LV 4.0 53 43 Shaheen +10


HuffPost Model Estimate

  •   Jeanne Shaheen I46.6%
  •   Scott Brown42.2%
  •   Undecided 

CONFIDENCE OF WIN The probability that Shaheen will beat Brown is 66.3%.

Obama Approve/Disapprove In New Hampshire

RCP Average 9/8 - 10/5 -- 41.0 54.2 -13.2
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 1286 LV 45 52 -7
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 681 A 38 55 -17
ARG 9/12 - 9/15 544 RV 39 51 -12
Rasmussen Reports 9/10 - 9/11 750 LV 45 53 -8
CNN/Opinion Research 9/8 - 9/11 735 LV 38 60 -22

If Looks Really Matter, Where Does That Leave Kuster/Garcia Race?

Warning!  Warming!  Warning!  

I don't plan to say anything really offensive here...certainly nothing like the reference to the recent Saturday Night Live skit about doing "it" for a million dollars...but the subject matter, although very real, may prove uncomfortable for some of my more sensitive readers.  Thus, to avoid the PC police sending out  a warrant for my arrest, I offer an advance warning. warning.  


Help me out here.

It was late the other night when I saw some polling data which went by too fast for me to write down, and I've been unable to find it on Google.  It might have been from Fox's Red Eye show (3-4 a.m.--I told you it was late)...or maybe I'd fallen asleep and was dreaming.

I seem to recall hearing that a new survey is out revealing that, with two caveats, an attractive candidate can have as much as a seven to ten point advantage over a less attractive (or even an unattractive) candidate.

This is the kind of dirty little secret that most people usually don't like to admit, so I'm not sure how valid the polling data is, but after all, JFK looked better than Nixon with his 5 o'clock shadow on that first debate in 1960; people who listened on radio thought Nixon won; those who watched on TV gave it to JFK.  Yes indeed, if we stop to admit it, looks matter in politics.

The two caveats...if I heard correctly...were 1) That the two candidates must be of the same sex for the race in question; and 2) That the attractive candidate not be so drop dead gorgeous as to intimidate those watching.

If all this is true...and again, I haven't been able to google the exact poll...then of course attractiveness wouldn't matter in Scott Brown vs. Jeanne Shaheen or Frank Guinta vs. Carol Shea Porter or Maggie Hassan vs. Walt Havenstein; they're opposite sexes in each case.  Someone even told me yesterday that Mrs. Havenstein is a dead ringer for Jeanne Shaheen.

Wait...wait...wait...don't get too far ahead of me.
Oh, I bet you already are way ahead of me.

In New Hampshire's second congressional district, if I may be so bold as to speak the truth, Republican Marilinda Garcia is one of the mot attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating, but truly attractive.

How attractive is Marilinda Garcia?  You know how opposition ad makers usually go out of their way to find a photo of the opponent not looking his or her best.  Well...Democrats and Annie Kuster supporters can't seem to find a photo of Marilinda Garcia looking bad at all.

As for Annie....oh as for Annie...and before I continue, I offer that caution, caution, caution, gain.

Let's be honest.  Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?  And I hope I haven't offended sin.

If looks really matter and if this race is at all close, give a decided edge to Marilinda Garcia.

How ugly is Annie Kuster?  Again avert your eyes if you don't want to hear it, but I actually thought of Annie Kuster last weekend when I was in Montreal.  Not far from the Second Cup Coffee Shop I at which I was sipping and writing is a bar called Mados.  It's on the section of St. Catherine Street which is blocked off for pedestrians only in the summer; it's near the Jacques Cartier Bridge.  Thus, tens of thousands of Montrealers and visitors walk by Mados on their way to the fireworks displays on summer nights.

On almost any given night, standing for all to see in front of Mados is a rather attractive drag queen.  People stop to pose for pictures with this Mado drag queen; other drag queens gather round because, you see, Mados is a drag queen bar...not that there's anything wrong with that.  Long live Victor Victoria; long live La Cage Aux Folles.

By now you probably know why I think of Annie Kuster whenever I walk by Mados; sad to say, but the drag queens are more atrractive than Annie Kuster....not that there's anything wrong with that.

I've promised myself for years not to use this anecdote, but after seeing the story about the seven to ten point boost for the attractive, the story has political relevance.

Annie Kuster looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag.

Dejua Vu--GOP Doesn't Need NH To Take Senate


When it comes to United States Senate predictions, we've come full circle.

Back in early July when Scott Brown trailed Jeanne Shaheen by ten points, I remember analyzing all available polling data--hey, I was visiting my brother in Vermont; what else is there to do late at night in Vermont?--and writing that Republicans didn't need a win in New Hampshire to take a majority in the Senate.  In fact, they could easily get to 52 without New Hampshire, and were Brown to win, he would probably be the 54th or 55th Republican senator.

Since then, Scott Brown came to within the margin of error in some polls, but now seems to be falling back once again.  An exhaustive analysis of all other polling data, however, shows once again that Republicans do not need New Hampshire to get to 52 or even 53 seats in the Senate.

On the very same day that the WMUR Granite State Poll came out showing Scott Brown down by six (47-41; I'll analyze the internals in a separate post) after having closed the gap to two in mid-August, Republicans came closer not only to  locking up Alaska, Alabama, and Louisiana, but of moving solidly ahead in Iowa and Colorado.

Thus, even without New Hampshire and North Carolina (which is closing once again), Republican could get not only to 52 seats but to 53 should Pat Roberts hold on in Kansas.

In fact, if you look atvstate by state analysis, both Nate Silver at and have Republicans taking the Senate by a 52-47-1 margin.  The more liberal Huffington Post ( has Republicans doing even better, a 53-47 edge for Republicans, because it has Kansas as a total toss-up (slight edge to Republicans).

While some in the media point to possible Republican problems in Kentucky, Georgia, and even South Dakota, no legitimate numbers cruncher will go with a Democrat in those states if forced into what I like to call a "gun to your head" prediction.  In fact, the hoopla over South Dakota seems to be little more than the creation of a pair of pundits, (Halderman and Helilemann) trying to hype their new Bloomberg TV show.  In All Due Respect, this is not a responsible approach to journalism.  Silver, far more respected than the Bloomberg pundits ever will be, still has South Dakota as 89 percent likely to do Republican, so let's beware the hype intended to build ratings rather than shine light on the art of the possible.  Even Heilemann admits South Dakota is a hail Mary pass, yet he and his partner insist on pushing it. Shame on them.

As I noted last weekend, the problem was and is remains Barack Obama.

That's even more evident today.  Three times today Allison Lundegran Grimes would not admit that she voted for Obama; it's actually a hilarious attempt to maintain distance.  Grimes has actually slightly closed the gap on Mitch McConnell in Kentucky (but don't believe the spin that she's ahead--she's down 3.0, 4.1l and 4.1 in the three averages, those from RCP, 538, and Pollster), but after today's entry of foot into mouth, expect her to fall farther back.

Similarly, Jeanne Shaheen told the reliably liberal Andrea Mitchell that Barack Obama would be too busy in Washington D.C. to come to New Hampshire.  Should Obama make it here, you can be sure, Shaheen won't be.   

Just for the fun of it, I've put together the averages in the closest races.  In each case, the first number is the RCP average, the second from 538 polls, and the third from Pollster.  Numbers vary because different polls are used in compiling the three averages, but this actually merely gives more credence to the body of numbers. 

Arkansas--Cotton leads Pryor 4.4, 4.2, and 3.0 (538 gives him a 74% chance to win; Pollster 57%).

Alaska--Sullivan leads Begich 4.8, 3.7, and 4.7 (538 has just increased his chance to win to 76%--see below; Pollster 69%).

Louisiana--Cassidy leads Landrieu by more and more, 5.6, 4.5, and 5.0 (538 has upped the chances of her losing to 76%, Pollster 69%).

Kentucky--McConnell leads Grimes by 3.0, 4.l, and 4.1 (His chances of winning are 75 and 63%).

Georgia--Perdue leads Nunn by 3.2, 2.4, and 3.8 points (538 gives him a 72% chance of winning, Pollster 63 %).

Iowa--Ernst leads Braley The Anti-Farmer by 1.5, 2.4, and 4.2 points; that's not a typo; the Pollster average has her up 4.2 points.  (Pollster now gives her a 60 % chance to win and 538 has it all the way up to 63%).  Ernst would become the first female to go to Washington, either in the Senate or the House, from Iowa, thus making it tough to attack her as being anti-woman.

Colorado--the closest state of all--Gardner leads Udall by 1.3, 1.7, and 1.0 (538 gives him a 57 % chance of winning, Pollster only 52%; I've never thought Udall would lose and still don't).

Now, the three bits of good news for Democrats (if you can can an Independent being ahead in Kansas good news and keep in mind that Roberts has closed the gap dramatically on Orman this past week).

Kansas--Orman's lead over Roberts is fading fast.  He leads 2.4, 3.2, and 1.2 points (538 gives the Independent a 60% chance of winning, but even Nate Silver questions his own numbers; Pollster has it 50/50.  Wanna bet Roberts ends up winning?).

North Carolina--Hagan leads Tillis 2.4, 3.3, and 3.6 (538 gives her a 70 % chance of winning but pollster only 61 %).

New Hampshire--Shaheen over Brown by 6.5, 4.0, and 4.4 (RCP uses fewer polls). Silver puts her chances at 87 %; Pollster only 67 %.

Whew!  As I said at the outset, Republicans don't need Scott Brown to win to take the Senate.  

Here are the nine seats more likely to go Republican than New Hampshire.

1.  West Virginia
2.  Montana
3.  South Dakota (yes, SD is not in play)
4.  Louisiana
5.  Alaska
6.  Arkansas
7.  Iowa
8.  Colorado
9.  North Carolina
10.  New Hampshire 


As always, don't take my word for it.  Here's the latest chart from Huggington Post, the most liberal of numbers crunching sites.  Don't be surprised if some numbers are not exactly the same as those quoted above; these things change from day to day; this chart is a few days old.




Republicans Enjoy 3.2% Edge In NH Voter Registration

Look at the latest total of registered voters in New Hampshire, available on the Secretary of State's web site, and then you should look askance at any poll the next few weeks which fails to include at least three to five percent more Republicans than Democrats.

Currently Republicans enjoy a 3.3 percent advantage in registered voters, but both parties are surpassed by the category known as U.

In New Hampshire, you either register as a Republican or a Democrat and are listed as Undeclared (not officially Independent, but Undeclared).

Here are the latest totals.

Total registered voters--868,182

Total Republicans--264,502--30.5%

Total Democrats--235,948--27.2%

Total Undeclared--367,732--42.3%

However, that's just the beginning of Democratic woes as is clear from other new data on the Secretary of State's web site.

Of the 48,409 Undeclared voters who opted to vote in the September primary, more than three out of four chose a Republican ballot--37,634 to 10,775 for a Democratic ballot. That's 77.7-22.3% and can easily be explained, as we knew going in, by the action, that is to say the contests, on the Republican side.

In Carroll County, it was 2410-458, an 84-16 percent margin.

A numbers' cruncher cannot possibly put a percentage on this, but certainly some of those 37,634 Republican primary voters will feel committed enough to vote Republican in four weeks.

Just look at these totals from a few towns to show the Republican advantage.

These are total Undeclared voters casting an R/D ballot in the primary.

Bedford 663-114

Hudson 629-108

Litchfield 239-32

Merrimack 597-79

Hooksett 308-42

Derry 888-158

Hampton 612-137

Londonderry 612-89

Salem 1319-325

Newport 291-38

About the only places I could find where more Undeclared voters opted to take Democratic ballots were college areas like Keene and Plymouth (but not Durham and Hanover), Peterborough, Concord, Hopkinton (due most likely to the Democratic State Senate primary race there); not even Portsmouth.

The Desire To Remain U--Official numbers also reveal that Undeclared voters desire to remain Undeclared. 82.3 percent of them (39,821 of 48,409) took advantage of the provision in state law which allows voters to revert back to Undeclared before leaving the polling locations.

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