Forward to next post: Driving around New Hampshire II
With just eight weeks or so until the election, things are heating up on the poll front. New Hampshire is a Swing State, they say, and in play for its four electoral votes. Why’s this important? Because neither candidate has a lock on the state. The swing states could go either way, and with them the election. Everyone expects Texas will go for Romney and New York will go for Obama. No surprises. But the swing states, now:
When asked about the investment of man-hours and advertising dollars in a state with only four of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, advisers to both campaigns here point to the 2000 election. George W. Bush won the presidency after weeks of uncertainty and a Supreme Court decision — and after winning New Hampshire by a narrow margin. Democrats point to the fact that third-party candidate Ralph Nader received more than 22,000 votes that year in New Hampshire, more than three times Mr. Bush’s margin of victory in the state.
“All of a sudden, people started to realize those four electoral votes, in a very close election, can be the deciding four electorals,” said Jim Demers, a member of Mr. Obama’s New Hampshire steering committee and co-chairman of his 2008 campaign in the state. “That was the beginning. There is no doubt in my mind that if the Gore campaign had had an aggressive effort and targeted New Hampshire, most of those Ralph Nader votes would have gone to Al Gore, and it would have made the difference. He would have been the president.”
The tipping point states this time around, drawing from Nate Silver’s 538 blog, are:
New Hampshire is half-way down the list of (swing/tipping point/battleground) states. We’re at #4 on the list for states where a single voter could make the biggest difference in the outcome of the election.
But this also means that we’re getting sometimes three or four telephone poll calls per day. “As you are aware, a presidential election will be held this November. How likely are you to vote in this election? Certainly won’t vote, probably won’t vote, may not vote, may vote, probably will vote, certainly will vote. If the election were held tomorrow, who would you vote for? The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, some other candidate? Did you vote in the 2008 Presidential Election?….”
Something else Silver notes: At about 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon, I tweeted in exasperation: “The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense.” I could have told him that: I’m the guy answering them.
Today’s mail brought two flyers from the Romney campaign. One shows a bunch of worried-looking white women, and a black-and-white photo of Mr. Obama (so you’ll know who they’re worried about). In large sans-serif type they say, “Some of what he said is what we wanted, but it’s not what we got.”
No mention of Republican obstructionism.
The other flyer shows Romney and Ryan in a side-by-side Tweedledum-and-Tweedledee pose (in full color), while on the other side, ripped from yesterday’s headlines, various sentence fragments about jobs (e.g. “Job Losses Persist For The Less Educated”). Romney and Ryan are identified as “America’s Comeback Team.”
But this is not the most bizarre thing to come in the mail lately. The bizarre thing is an actual paper-and- pencil poll from the Institute on Voter Attitude & Public Policy. The National Critical Issues Poll. This, they say, is “A Project of the Free Enterprise Institute.”
First, there’s darned little about the Free Enterprise Institute of Fairfax, Virginia, on the Web. They’ve been apparently mailing out these surveys since at least 2007. From the name you’d think they were some kind of right- wing/libertarian group but even the Ron Paul people don’t know who they are. They’ve allegedly been involved in telephone push-polling. Beyond that? They have assets of zero. Income of zero. Where their poll results are published is unknown. Who’s running the shop, who supports them, what they do when they aren’t sending polls around … all unknown.
Their poll isn’t very savvy. Take
question 10: Compared to the services
you receive, how is the level of taxes
you pay to your state
government in NEW HAMPSHIRE? Would you
say they are:
Way too high?
Given that there’s no state income tax or sales tax in New Hampshire, I don’t know what they’re asking. (“New Hampshire” is in a different typeface from the rest of the document, BTW.)
They seem fascinated with gun control.