Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Oct102014

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.
 
Ouch! 
Thursday
Oct092014

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 fivethirtyeight.com and realclearpolitics.com have Republicans taking the Senate by a 52-47-1 margin.  The more liberal Huffington Post (pollster.com) 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.

2014-10-09-SenateTable1009b.png

enten-datalab-alaskahopes

Wednesday
Oct082014

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.

Wednesday
Oct082014

A CSpan Battle Of 96 Vs. 100 Percent In North Carolina

Kay Hagan

Kay Hagan (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Thom Tillis

Thom Tillis (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

                If your fondest desire is to watch a hundred debates the next four weeks, then CSpan and CSpan2 is the place to be (Channels 210 and 211 on the Dish).

                With the House and Senate out of session, the government channel has plenty of time to cover debates all around the county, picking up feeds from local outlets, and there are no shortage of debates that’s for sure.

                I actually watched one last night, and if other debates are as entertaining as the slugfest between North Carolina incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and challenger, state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, then the network’s fall kickoff ratings might just take a dive.

                Just kidding of course, but the debate was most interesting.

                Obviously these two candidates don’t like each other.

                At least once in every answer, Hagan felt the need to work “Speaker” into her means of addressing Tillis.  Her handlers have obviously made clear to her just how unpopular the recently ended session of the North Carolina legislature, led by “Speaker” Tillis, was.

                Both candidates continuously ignored the questions (from ABC News George Stephanopoulos) in an attempt to make sure we knew about two numbers which they feel really matter, 96 percent and 100 percent.

                Even as Senator Hagan insisted she is the most moderate member of the Senate, Tillis stressed  over and over again how she has voted with President Barack Obama 96 percent of the time.  Wow if that’s moderate, viewers must have been left wondering (at least this one), then what would constitute a left winger?  Apparently that would be voting with the President 99 percent of the time (a la Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire).

                As if compelled to respond to the 96 percent charge with a number of her own, Senator Hagan resorted to an outrageous contention that “Speaker” Tillis has favored programs which have hurt citizens of North Carolina 100 percent of the time.  Again, it was time for a wow.  Certainly that 100 percent number is not quantifiable, and if North Carolina is anything like the New Hampshire legislature, both parties agree at least ten (and as often as twenty) percent of the time, so Tillis must certainly be able to come up with instances in which all North Carolina Democrats agreed with him.

                Thus Hagan’s 100 percent claim is absurd on its face, but I may have been the only viewer thinking in those terms, and of course, I’m not Tar Heel.

                All year, I had thought Tillis would beat Hagan,  but bolstered by tens of millions of dollars of outside money, she’s pulled almost comfortably ahead in all recent polling.  She’s up 3.4 points (45.6-42.2 in the Real Clear Politics average today, but two new polls today have her lead down to two points (Rasmussen 48-46 and USA today 47-45).  Although Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com gives her an 81 percent change of holding on to her seat, I get the feeling this race may not be over.

                Tillis last night kept pounding Obama’s unfortunate line from last week about how his policies are in fact on the ballot next month.  Hagan never seemed to have a response to that, and if she ends up losing, it will certainly be Obama which sinks her.  He’s underwater by about 12 points in North Carolina (notice how Rasmussen is yet again an outlier), slightly more than the national average.

President Obama Job Approval in North Carolina

PollDateSampleApprove Disapprove Spread
RCP Average 9/11 - 10/7 -- 41.3 53.5 -12.2
Rasmussen Reports 10/6 - 10/7 970 LV 48 49 -1
USA Today/Suffolk 10/4 - 10/7 500 LV 41 53 -12
NBC News/Marist 9/27 - 10/1 1132 RV 40 50 -10
Civitas (R) 9/25 - 9/28 600 RV 44 53 -9
CNN/Opinion Research 9/22 - 9/25 595 LV 38 58 -20
High Point 9/13 - 9/18 410 LV 38 57 -19
FOX News 9/14 - 9/16 605 LV 39 55 -16
PPP (D) 9/11 - 9/14 1266 LV 42 53 -11

More Polling Data | News

                Over on CSpan2, Colorado incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper was debating Republican Bob Beauprez who, like Republican Senate challenger Cory Gardner, is up half a point (Obama is down 13 in Colorado).  How much debating can one take in one night?  The Coloradans seemed much more civil to each other than Hagan and Tillis, and that's no fun.  I listened long enough to hear Hickenlooper explain how he never agreed with voters of his state (55-45 %) on legalization of marijuana...Time to go Hick?

Unfair And Unbalanced--If you get the idea that I can't take Fox News and the likes of Megan Kelly and Hannity and O'Reilly and the constant Obama bashing any more, you would be right...and I'm not even an Obama fan...unfair and unbalanced for sure.  Besides, the hair stylings of Fox anchors, both day and night, are mesmerizing, n'est-ce pas?

President Obama Job Approval in Colorado

PollDateSampleApprove Disapprove Spread
RCP Average 7/10 - 9/30 -- 41.2 54.2 -13.0
Rasmussen Reports 9/29 - 9/30 950 LV 47 51 -4
USA Today/Suffolk 9/13 - 9/16 500 LV 42 56 -14
NBC News/Marist 9/2 - 9/4 976 RV 39 53 -14
PPP (D) 7/17 - 7/20 653 RV 39 53 -14
Quinnipiac 7/10 - 7/14 1147 RV 39 58 -19

More Polling Data | News

                Ernst v. Braley--CSpan is announcing when to tune in for future debates.  Of all the ones I heard, I’d plan to mark the calendar for this Saturday night, 8 p.m.  That’s when Joni The Hog Castrator Ernst debates Bruce The Anti-Farmer Braley in Iowa.

                Wanna bet we’re going to hear again and again about Obama’s policies being on the ballot next month.

Tuesday
Oct072014

Surprise! Surprise! Porter Up But Kuster Down

Wrong and wrong again!

That's what you would have been if, like me, you thought Republican Frank Guinta would be leading Carol Shea Porter and Democrat Annie Kuster would be leading Marilinda Garcia in the latest round of WMUR Granite State Polling.

Just the opposite is true.  Porter leads Guinta 42-39 (note the large number of undecided), but Garcia leads Kuster 41-37, and both Democratic incumbents are way under water when it comes to popularity.  In fact, as negative ads continue to explode over the air waves, all four candidates are under water.

Kuster is 28-37 percent unfavorable; Garcia 24-27.  Porter does even worse, 29-41 unfavorable.

In the second, interestingly Kuster leads 36-34 among all voters, but she falls four points behind (41-37) when undecideds are asked to weigh in.  That bodes very well for Garcia.  She's been able to withstand a huge barrage of negative ads (she calls them "scary" in her new effective rebuttal ad) and still manages to draw in the undecided. 

As you can see from the Real Clear Politics data, Kuster remains quite a bit ahead in all other polling data.  Thus, this WMUR/UNH poll could make national headlines similar to what happened back in August when Andy Smith had Scott Brown pulling virutally even with Jeanne Shaheen.

PollDateSampleGarcia (R)Kuster (D)Spread
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 275 LV 41 37 Garcia +4
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 702 LV 39 50 Kuster +11
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 779 LV 38 49 Kuster +11
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 627 LV 37 50 Kuster +13
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 312 LV 36 39 Kuster +3
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 246 LV 36 50 Kuster +14
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 184 LV 33 34 Kuster +1
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 218 LV 30 36

Kuster +6

 

RCP numbers are more mixed for Porter v. Guinta.

PollDateSampleShea-Porter (D)Guinta (R)Spread
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 258 LV 42 39 Shea-Porter +3
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 629 LV 41 51 Guinta +10
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 715 LV 45 45 Tie
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 607 LV 46 42 Shea-Porter +4
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 297 LV 41 45 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 263 LV 43 47 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 199 LV 44 35 Shea-Porter +9
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 245 LV 39 45 Guinta +6
WMUR/UNH 10/7 - 10/16 258 LV 48 32 Shea-Porter +16
New England College 10/7 - 10/9 882 RV 43 42

Shea-Porter +1

 

I was going to predict (and still will) a 54-46 win for Guinta and a 51-49 upset win for Kuster. The way things are looking, it might not be an upset at all, and both Republicans look poised to win.  That would be pick-up of two of eight seats at the national level (the average most pundits seem to be predicting; the Washington Post has it up to plus 10 and 244 Republicans overall).

Here's an indepth report on the polling and the Kuster/Garcia race in particular from Town Hall.com, including an interesting chart.

Speaking of new information, Bloomberg has waded into politics with a half hour show every evening, "With All Due Respect" 5:00-5:30 p.m. with the authors of Game Change, Mark Haldeman and John Hileman and an impressive new web site (bloomberg.com/politics).

Matt Vespa 

New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster has emerged from the bunker, launching a diner tour in the final weeks of the 2014 election cycle. Kuster plans to visit 30 diners in 30 days, as stipulated in this Oct. 2 campaign email:

 

This past week, Annie kicked off her 30 Diners in 30 Days tour, which will take her to diners, cafes and restaurants all across the Second District to meet with voters right in their own backyards. From Salem to Berlin, Annie is sitting down and chatting with voters about what’s on their mind this election season.

 

This week, Annie was proud to receive the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. Annie knows that every day, Granite State fire fighters put their own lives on the line in order to keep our families safe. Since taking office, she’s fought to ensure our fire fighters receive the resources and support they need in order to do their jobs effectively – and get home safely.

Annie was thrilled to hold her third seniors forum of the year in Nashua, with special guest Jon “Bowzer” Bauman. During the forum, Annie took questions from the audience, and addressed seniors’ concerns about issues they care about – protecting Medicare and Social Security, affordable health care, foreign policy, and much more. At the event, Annie was pleased to also receive the endorsement of Senior Votes Count, a seniors advocacy organization that works to elect candidates who care about issues that affect local seniors.

Her Republican opponent, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, released this ad highlighting the growing distrust surrounding Washington. But she also said that all is not lost; we still need to grow communities, we have careers to build, and we have a long future ahead of us.

 

Garcia’s communications director, Ken Cunningham, said of the ad:

 

As a millennial who grew up in New Hampshire, Marilinda Garcia has watched as a generation of Washington politicians, like Barack Obama and Ann Kuster, imposed burdensome regulations that make New Hampshire less free. Marilinda Garcia believes it is time for a new generation of independent leaders to speak up and solve our nation’s most crucial problems.

 

Marilinda is a reform-minded candidate who will work to restore the bond of trust between government and Granite Staters. She will fight to maintain traditional New Hampshire values - low taxes, small government, and personal freedom – for a new generation. Momentum is building to support Marilinda in the fight for a stronger future for the Granite State and our Nation.

Nevertheless, Garcia faces an uphill challenge in New Hampshire's second congressional district. She’s trailing Kuster by double-digits in the polls–and this district voted for Barack Obama twice. Regardless, Garcia is moving forward, hosting a town hall event tonight on reforming health care in Littleton.

UPDATE: A WMUR Granite State Pollfrom the University of New Hampshire Survey Center has Garcia up (with leaners) 4 points over Kuster.  The poll noted that both candidates' favorables are way underwater, which makes this race volatile.  Nevertheless, it could be showing that Garcia's visible presence on the campaign trail, visiting. schools, small businesses, and hosting town hall events are paying dividends. 

 

Currently, 36% of likely voters in the 2nd District say they would vote for Kuster if the election were held today, 34% would vote for Garcia, 3% would vote for someone else and 28% are undecided. However, when undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean toward supporting, the race shifts so that 41% of voters say they would vote for Garcia, 37% would vote for Kuster, 3% would vote for someone else, and 19% remain undecided.

 

 

 

 

 


This image courtesy of WMUR

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