Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Upping The Number To 250R On "Around Town"

                For the first time in nearly two years, I agreed to sit down for a full half hour TV show yesterday. You may remember that at the outset of 2013, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to refrain from television and basically I carried the pledge over into this year.  I tend to be overexposed .  At the end of 2013, I abandoned my own hour weekly show on Manchester Community TV (it became too much like real work), but even today, at least one out of two times when I’m in the library, the supermarket, or McDonalds (writing blogs), someone will come up to me and talk about my TV if it's still on.

              Apparently once one is on TV, one is never forgotten.  (I did "More Politically Alert" for ten years providing "the kind of information you can't find anywhere else").  The only TV I’d done all the past 18 months was when I was so upset by Mayor Ted Gatsas shutting down stores for selling a perfectly legal product (Spice) that I acted on the urge to dash down to the Joe Kelly Levasseur Show to vent.  Sure enough, someone immediately came up to me at McDonalds that night to say they she just seen the show.

                When Concord Rep Dick Patten asked me to do his show (Around Town; I’m not even sure when it airs or on which station; one can always google it), I agreed, and it was a hoot.

                Talk about a low key host, that’s Dick Patten.  It was almost like sitting at home in your living room.

                Not that I ever want to scoop myself (in this blog), but I made some news on the show…if anyone watches.  I upped my prediction of Republican take-over of the New Hampshire House once again, up from 239 to 250 seats based on primary results which I’ve only alluded to here.  Heck, Democrats could lose five more seats than I had originally thought in Manchester alone.

                I predicted that while Frank Guinta and Marilinda Garcia would win the Congressional races against Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster this year, they would both lose the seats comes 2014.

                As I’ve always said, top of the ticket matters, and Barack Obama, while not on the ticket, will be a major drag on Democrats up and down the ticket this year, but I suspect Republicans will alienate enough voters that the pendulum will swing back the other way come 2016.

                Dick seemed to be pro gambling and while as a Libertarian, I support people’s right to waste their money any way they see fit, I felt compelled to opine once again that the New Hampshire House will not pass any gambling play next year, especially one which sends hundreds of millions of dollars to an out of state, yes, even an out of country, company operating a monopoly.

                I managed to get a plug in for my top two issues—either decriminalization or legalization of marijuana and a simple bill that would stop making law breakers out of 90 percent of our population, raising the interstate speed limit to 70 miles an hour.

                Dick seemed much more interested in government-sponsored railroads than I am.  I pointed out how rail is big in Europe, but Americans still have a love affair with their automobiles, and I would only support railroads if users bear the cost of running them; in other words, no more government handouts.

                That sounds like a consistent position for any libertarian to take; and I’m nothing if not a consistent libertarian.

                The half hour went by so fast, I can’t remember what else we talked about.

                Oh yes, I recall a bit of lamenting from both of us that far too many elected officials simply follow the party line rather than acting as independent sentient human beings, long a concern of mine, and leadership of both parties are equally guilty of coercion although it seems Terrie Norelli and her Democrats were especially guilty this past session.

                I got the feeling Rep. Patten was not a Norelli supporter.  Oh well, as Alexis said on Dynasty…cue up one of my favorite lines…”It’s all in the past now.”

                I enjoyed the guest shot on Around Town (or whatever the name is) that I actually considered going back to doing my own weekly show…for about five minutes, and then sanity returned.

                At least I don’t have to worry about my fellow citizens of Manchester seeing Around Town; it apparently only airs in Concord.  That’s fine with me; I seem to be as overexposed as ever.

                Chances are that within moments of reading this, others, those whom I’ve managed to say no to for the past 18months, will be asking again.  My excuse, “I swore off TV as a New Year’s resolution” appears to be invalid these days.

Around Town

Will NH Republicans Move A Step Closer To Marriage Equality?

Don't hold your breath...but...

At Saturday’s state convention, New Hampshire Republicans reportedly will be offered language to make the state party platform less hostile to homosexuals.

Mind you, the new language does not go as far as to endorse marriage equality; that’s what all recent polls show Americans favoring (see below), but it would remove the language that marriage is “the legal union between one man and one woman.”

Manchester Republican Chair Tammy Simmons, who as a Representative three years ago fought against repeal of the gay marriage law, has sent me a copy of the proposed new language.

It notes that the party shall “value marriage, rooted in love and lifelong commitment as both a religious institution and as a fundamental, personal freedom and one of the foundations of a civil society.”

While that sounds like a step in the right direction to me, I understand opposition will be ferocious from the right wing.

Ironically, I received this wording at the same time I heard on the radio (most likely in the Press Pool with Julie Mason on SiriusXM Potus) that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has a gay son and has come out in favor of marriage equality, is thinking of running for President.

Ah yes, there may be hope for the Grand Old Party, my party, after all.

Through the years, I have avoided these party conventions, but maybe I’ll have to head for Southern New Hampshire University Saturday morning.

Republicans chose delegates to the state convention on their primary ballot last week (Democrats employ a different system), but any Republican who won a primary for any office is also provide delegate status.

I guess that means I’m in. I don’t suppose they would welcome a half hour speech pointing out how now more than ever we should honor the right of any human being to marry the person he or she loves, not only for his or her sake but for the betterment of our society as well.

Here are a spate of recent polls (from which all show support for marriage equality, generally with margins in the 10-20 percent range.  Note how the CBS number has gone up from +13 in August to +19 in September.

September 15--CBS/New York Times 56-37 % support gay marriage.

August 7—Marist—54-38 % support for gay marriage.

August 4—CBS—53-40 % support for gay marriage.

June 1—ABC—56-38 % support for gay marriage.

May 11—Gallup—55-42 % support for gay marriage.

March 10—Bloomberg—55-36 % support for gay marriage.

February 26—Pew—54-39 % support for gay marriage.


90% Of UND Manchester Voters Reverted Back To UND 

                Thanks to Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand, we are provided an advance look at primary day registration, first time voters, and how Independents (officially known as Undeclared in New Hampshire) went last Tuesday.

                Keep in mind that these totals are only for Manchester; it’ll be a while until the Secretary of State’s office has the final statewide totals.

                New Hampshire state law allows for any Undeclared voter to take a primary ballot for either party and to actually revert to undeclared status before leaving the polling place.  Among others, I’ve fought hard for this “right” in the past, and indication from Manchester are that Undeclared voters clearly want to remain undeclared.  In the past, some Reps (sadly, mostly Reublicans) have attempted to force a three month waiting period before undeclared voters could revert back; I always thought of it as a three month hostage takeing! 

               89.3 percent of undeclared voters in Manchester (2645 of 2963) changed back to the undeclared status prior to leaving the polling place.  I suspect the number will be similar statewide.

                However, I was a bit surprised that 24.7 percent of Undeclared voters took a Democratic ballot (732 of the 2963); 75.3 percent (2231) took a Republican ballot.  Since there were very few contests on the Democratic side (Executive Councilor, County Commissioner only), one would have expected even fewer Undeclared voters to opt for a Democratic.  I’ll look for he number to be closer to 85-15 percent statewide; let’s make that an hypothesis.

                Equally as puzzling to me was a relatively high number of new voters.  Another great feature of New Hampshire law is that a voter can register and vote at the same time.

                One would have expected very few voters energized enough to come out and register Democratic since they then had to vote Democratic.

                Of 608 new registrants (that’s about 50 per ward, much more than I would have guessed), 263 registered Republican (43.3 percent), 249 undeclared (40.9 percent), and 96 Democratic (15.8 percent).

                With 7230 Manchester voters taking a Republican ballot, Undeclareds (2231) represented 30.8 percent.  With 5026 total Democratic ballots cast, Undeclareds (732) represented 14.6 percent.  Overall, of 12,256 total votes cast, the Undeclared total of 2963 represents 24.2 percent.

                My hypothesis is that we'll find Manchester slightly more Democratic than the overall state profile, no big revelation since registered Democrats enjoy a significant lead among the city's 52.228 regisltered voters.

                I may be the only one interested in such data (I suspect not) and for providing it so quickly, a big thanks to Matt Normand.  I’ll run the percentages statewide once the data is in…whether you want me to or not.


10% Of Democratic Primary Voters Rejected Shaheen

Let's begin with a hypothesis; that's what I always do when I look at primary voting patterns.

Let's start with a few givens.

With so few Democrats voting in last Tuesday's New Hampshire primary (around 44,000), one would think that only the real diehards would be casting ballots.

With all the action on the Republican side, one would think that about 90 percent of Undeclared voters opted to pick up Democratic ballots. Thus, the Democratic primary was by an large the domain of the true believers.

Even though Missouri-born Senator Jeanne Shaheen was unopposed, history shows us that we should never expect any candidate to receive the votes of all the people showing up for any primary.

The question becomes--how many people will blank a given candidate?

The higher up the ballot, the fewer number of blanks will be evident. In some State Rep races, some uncontested candidates receive less than 50 percent of available votes. In Ward 3 Manchester, for example, 171 Democratic ballots were cast in the primary; two State Representatives were chosen. Incumbent Rep. Jean Jeudy received only 87 votes, a rather pathetic 50.9 percent while incumbent Rep. Pat Long, also an alderman, received 139 votes, a very respectable 81.2 percent, especially respectable for such a down ballot position. In other words, in this very low turnout ward, 52 more blanks were left for Jeudy than for Brown.

That's all by way of explanation as to how we would go about forming a hypothesis.

I figured that with such a low turnout and with such high visibility, Jeanne Shaheen should receive a vote from 90-95 percent of those voting in the Democratic primary. That would be in line with internal numbers from the most recent UNH poll which showed Jeanne Shaheen taking all but a five or six percent of Democratic votes from Scott Brown.

As it turns out, this data is relatively easy to come by.

I began with Manchester since I had those numbers first. 3647 Democratic ballots were cast, and Shaheen received 3162 votes. That's only 86.7 percent. Thus, Shaheen fell short of our (or my) hypothesis. In fact, the virtually unheard of happened. In Wards 4, 10 and 11, uncontested State Senate candidate Lou D'Allesandro received more votes than Shaheen (228 to 223; 286-276; and 198-188). Even more astounding, in wards 5, 6, 7,8, and 9 combined, uncontested State Senate candidate Donna Soucy received more total votes than Shaheen 1260-1253.

When is the last time you've seen state senate candidates do better than a party's U.S. Senate candidate? Wow!

It took a while before the final numbers were on the Secretary of State's web site, but we have them now. In fact, Shaheen fared better than she did in Manchester. She received 39,282 Democratic votes out of 43,556 votes cast.

Calculator, please.

That's 90.2 percent, at the low end of our (my) hypothesis.

This cannot be good news for Shaheen or Democrats. Almost ten percent of the Democrats who were energized enough to go vote decided either leave the Jeanne Shaheen slot blank (or to write in someone).

This appears to be at odds with the high percentage of Democrats Shaheen was supposedly pulling in polls. Mind you, we're looking at actual results here, not opinion polls.

In fact, Shaheen received only 167 votes more than Governor Maggie Hassan (39,115) who had two opponents albeit not very serious opponents (1719 for Ian Freeman and 704 for Mrs. Terrio with 192 write-ins for Havenstein and 164 write-ins for Hemingway).

In other words, about 10 percent who voted in the Democratic primary actually went out of their way not to vote for Jeanne Shaheen.

How does this compare to Shaheen's virtually uncontested Senate primaries in 2002 and 2008?

Red books, please.

In 2002, Democratic primary turnout was higher, not because of Shaheen, but because pro income taxer Mark Fernald was opposing Bev Hollingworth for governor. 69,965 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary; Shaheen received 57,995 or 82.9 percent; Republican Bob Smith received 1087 Democratic write-ins while Republican John Sununu received 739. Shaheen went on to lose to John Sununu by 19,751 votes in November (Fernald lost to Craig Benson by almost 90,000 votes); I wasn't surprised since I had noted (on my old TV show) how Shaheen had been rejected by 17 percent of voters in the Democratic primary.

In the 2008 Democratic primary, 50,280 Democratic ballots were cast; Shaheen received 42,968 of them, but this is not as pure a comparison since another Democrat (Raymond Stebbins) was on the ballot and received 5281 votes. Shaheen's share was 85.5 percent.

Thus Shaheen did better with Democratic primary voters this year than in either 2002 or 2008, but that's to be expected since there were fewer of them this year.

The point of this exercise is to note simply that while some pundits make a great deal of how Scott Brown will lose some Republican votes, the truth is that Jeanne Shaheen will probably not do as well with Democratic voters as some polls would have us believe.


CNN Has Scott Brown Even With Shaheen

                Remember how Democrats and their fellow travelers in the main stream media, especially the Daily Kos, were quick to pooh pooh that UNH poll which had Scott Brown within two points of Jeanne Shaheen in mid-August.

                Well…you can just hold those poohs because in the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll just out, Scott Brown is not merely within two points; in fact, he’s dead even.

                Remember also that for months I’ve been suggesting that we could expect a primary bounce for Scott Brown because in state after state, Republican primary winners have immediately moved up four to six points in averaged  polling data.

                Sure enough, it’s happened for Scott Brown.  According to the Real Clear Politics average, he’s halved the gap with Shaheen, and it would be even closer but for a Rasmussen Poll which has Shaheen up by six points.  This is the same Rasmussen, king of automated (that is to say unreliable) polling, which has Obama at only minus three in popularity while he’s down 12.6 points in the RCP average.  Obama would be down 13.75 were RCP to remove Rasmussen from its data base, something it clearly should do.

                Meanwhile, Democrats are in free fall in the all-important generic ballot numbers.  Until just a few minutes ago, not even Rasmussen had Democrats ahead; it does now, but that's in the same batch of numbers in which Obama is only down three points.  Go figure!  Keep in mind that Larry Sabato, at the University of Virginia, has charts on his web site showing how Democrats need a five point lead in the generic ballot just to break even on election day.

              By the way, don't for a minute think that Fox News polling goes out of its way to favor Republicans.  In fact, in its poll prior to this one, it had Democrats up seven points in the generic ballot and Obama doing better than any pollster other than Rasmussen; I figured it had gotten a hold of some bad numbers; clearly, Fox News does not rig its polls.

                Here are the three charts from RCP—Shaheen vs. Brown; Obama popularity; and generic ballot numbers.

                No additional commentary is needed here.

Polling Data--Shaheen v. Brown

PollDateSampleMoEShaheen (D)Brown (R)Spread
RCP Average 8/7 - 9/11 -- -- 47.3 43.8 Shaheen +3.5
CNN/Opinion Research 9/8 - 9/11 735 LV 3.5 48 48 Tie
Rasmussen Reports 9/10 - 9/11 750 LV 4.0 48 42 Shaheen +6
CBS News/NYT/YouGov 8/18 - 9/2 1159 LV 4.0 47 41 Shaheen +6
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 609 LV 4.0 46 44 Shaheen +2

All New Hampshire Senate - Brown vs. Shaheen Polling Data

Polling Data--Obama Approval

PollDateSampleApprove Disapprove Spread
RCP Average 9/2 - 9/14 -- 41.4 54.0 -12.6
Gallup 9/12 - 9/14 1500 A 41 54 -13
Rasmussen Reports 9/12 - 9/14 1500 LV 48 51 -3
FOX News 9/7 - 9/9 833 LV 38 57 -19
The Economist/YouGov 9/6 - 9/8 715 RV 40 58 -18
CNN/Opinion Research 9/5 - 9/7 1014 A 43 55 -12
Pew Research 9/2 - 9/9 2002 A 42 50 -8
ABC News/Wash Post 9/4 - 9/7 RV 42 54 -12
Reuters/Ipsos 9/3 - 9/7 1758 A 39 53 -14
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 9/3 - 9/7 1000 RV 40 54  


Polling Data--Generic Ballot

PollDateSampleRepublicans (R)Democrats (D)Spread
RCP Average 8/23 - 9/14 -- 45.7 42.7 Republicans +3.0
Rasmussen Reports 9/8 - 9/14 3500 LV 38 41 Democrats +3
Pew Research 9/2 - 9/9 1150 LV 47 44 Republicans +3
FOX News 9/7 - 9/9 833 LV 47 40 Republicans +7
CNN/Opinion Research 9/5 - 9/7 LV 49 45 Republicans +4
ABC News/Wash Post 9/4 - 9/7 LV 47 44 Republicans +3
GWU/Battleground 8/23 - 8/28 1000 LV 46 42 Republicans +4

All 2014 Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data