New Hampshire

New Hampshire Polls Have Created a Political Narrative Perfect Storm

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Election polling is always wrong. Except when it’s not. And even then sometimes. But especially in New Hampshire this year. Confused yet? You should be.

Every single poll that’s come out in the last week has said something completely different is happening in the first primary, and not even in a linear trending way, with certain candidates ascending or descending. They’re literally all over the place.

The following is a list of all the polls currently included in the Real Clear Politics average for New Hampshire.

NH1

From this data we can tell only three things:

  1. Trump is leading in New Hampshire.
  2. There is a fight for second place between Rubio, Kasich, Cruz, and Bush.
  3. Christie, Fiorina, and Carson should probably have dropped out yesterday.

Second is where the real mystery is. Every poll shows a different person (or tie) in second place behind Trump [highlighted above in yellow]. Rubio comes in second place in one poll and ties for second in two others, but so does Bush in one, Cruz in one and ties in another, and Kasich in two and ties in another.

Some of these individual polls even show trends from earlier data, which usually signal a real change in support. But even here those trends are contradictory. In the CNN poll, Rubio has gained 6 points from the same poll taken a little over a week ago, while the other candidates have only gained 1 point. But in other polls, like the UMass daily tracking poll, Rubio has lost 2 points over the last week.

Trumpbama

The polls opened in New Hampshire at midnight, and early results are favoring Bernie Sanders and John Kasich. That’s not really unexpected.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie relentlessly went after a stunned Marco Rubio at the last GOP debate — and in the days following — to prove the younger Senator is inexperienced and not ready to be president. That’s not really unexpected either.

Jeb Bush seems to be upping his profile a bit and gaining some word-of-mouth ground (thanks in part to Christie’s attack on Rubio), while Ted Cruz is being forced to answer for some questionable campaign decisions that have people wondering if they can trust him. Politicians making use of another politician’s crisis and behaving in a possibly sketchy way? Definitely not unexpected.

This, however, is:

The Domestic Cold War

Joel Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. Previously he worked in Washington, D.C. in public policy for organizations such as the Leadership Institute, the Cato Institute, and the White House Office of Public Liaison. He studied Statesmanship at the undergraduate level and Global Affairs at the postgraduate level.

The battle lines are drawn. The great war between America’s government and her people fast approaches.

No, this isn’t some dystopian near-future science fiction scenario. This is present-day America we’re talking about. There’s a growing hostility between the U.S. government and certain incorrigible freedom-loving citizens, with the live-and-let-lives caught on the side of their more rowdy fellows, despite best efforts to bury their heads in the sand.

But where are all the battles? Where are the troops filling the streets? Where are the tanks rolling across the countryside, steamrolling all dissidents in their path? In waiting, that’s where. This isn’t a traditional armed conflict I’m predicting; at least, not yet. It’s a cold war. Each side is building up its record of hostile actions against the other, all stopping short of the point of no return.

First there’s the war over control of information. The degree to which the U.S government has pursued whistleblowers, leakers, and all those who would enforce transparency is worrisome, almost to the point of making the American people out to be some sort of sworn enemy. Almost. As the Bradley Manning trial showed, they will prudently stop short of making that overt declaration of war.

What to expect tonight in New Hampshire?

Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.

As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.

Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.

Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.

Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.

Ronald Paul Assails GOP Establishment

It’s not often that the media give Ronald Paul (R-Texas) a chance to speak.

There were reasons, why I didn’t watch the second GOP debate on Sunday.

Ronald Paul cleared the field on Saturday, he was the last man standing! After some initial tampering with his microphone, and pitch, he opened his arguments by restating his offensive tactic on “big-government Republican”, Rick Santorum. The only two real Tea Party contenders: Ronald Paul and Rick Perry, were left to languish on stage for the better part of 15 minutes, until allowed to join the discussion.

Mitt Romney was busy arguing how many jobs were, lost and gained under his CEO leisure. Newt Gingrich quoted the New York Times. Paul smoothly stepped back, blocked Santorum’s smugness by raining down: “he voted to raise the debt [ceiling] five times.”

Rick Santorum let loose liberal counter-attacks, naming sources “leftist”, and calling Mitt Romney class-consciously dangerous. In so doing, Santorum looked less Republican, more like a blue-state lawyer from the Northeast. Neither Paul nor Romney delved deep into his attacks, mostly picking up on their own strengths. Santorum was a negative force, not a positivist in this debate, Saturday night January 7th.

When Ronald Paul raised his hand for a response, the slick Stephonopilis retorted back to Paul (his senior by quite a few years): “we’ll stay with the subject, don’t you worry.” Brilliance in public debate rarely comes to the fore, especially on television. Paul showed it by counterstriking first Santorum, then defecting the attack from Rick Perry, onto Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Jon Huntsman decided not to attack. Mitt Romney largely left the debate unscathed. Only because Ronald Paul made no concerted effort to attack the former Massachusetts blue-state Governor. It was easy for Paul to slice-down the cryptic schizophrenity of Gingrich, whose attempted slur of Ronald Paul on “style”, many see as hearnestness.

Ron Paul has a good shot to win in Iowa

With his poll numbers in rising, some pundits, observers, and veteran Republicans are noting that Ron Paul may have a real shot of winning in Iowa. The National Review’s Robert Costa explains:

Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news, and his candidacy is frequently ignored by Beltway reporters. But headlines, his aides say, are overrated. In fact, the Texas Republican’s low-key autumn was strategic. As Paul’s competitors stumbled and sparred, he amassed a small fortune for his campaign and built a strong ground operation. And with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses.

“This was a movement when he first started running in 2008,” says Trygve Olson, a senior Paul adviser. “Now it’s turned into a highly professionalized campaign, but the energy from that last run is still there, and at the heart of what’s keeping up his momentum.”

The latest polls back up that confidence. In the influential Des Moines Register poll published over the weekend, Paul placed second. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, captured 25 percent of likely Iowa GOP voters, but Paul garnered 18 percent, two points ahead of Mitt Romney, who in 2008 placed second in the caucuses.

If Paul wins Iowa, the upset could upend what many politicos say is a two-man race between Gingrich and Romney. According to state GOP insiders, a Paul victory is a real possibility. In background conversations, many say Paul is much stronger than outside observers believe, with deep and wide support among a frustrated electorate. With Herman Cain’s departure from the race, operatives see Paul potentially collecting a quarter of caucus attendees.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

This primary has been crazy. There is a significant portion of the Republican electorate that is determined to make sure that Mitt Romney doesn’t win the party’s nomination. It’s hard to blame them given his frequent position changes and refusal to back away from RomneyCare, which — as I so frequently note — was the basis for ObamaCare.

In the last two weeks, we’ve seen Herman Cain’s campaign implode due to the handling of the past accusations sexual harassment and another series of embarrassing gaffes. As expected, the next candidate in line for conservatives — who have gone through Cain, then Bachmann, then Perry, and then Cain again — is Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was all but dead in the water a few months ago.

The News

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

So what do we make of the Republican field after the Ames Straw Poll? It’s a good question, but there are a couple of factors that need to play out; including decisions by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom could change the face of the race.

I’ve been waiting for Ames to come and go since I anticipated the landscape to change, and it did with Tim Pawlenty’s exit (though I expected Rick Santorum to be out the door first) so I could give some power rankings for the candidates; something I hope to do at least every two weeks from now until the end.

Mitt Romney (even): As far as it goes, Romney is the guy to beat right now. Yes, he is going to have some problems to contend, including continued hits on RomneyCare and frequent position changes. He is, however, the establishment’s candidate. Romney also needs to be careful what he says on the trail, at least limit his points to easily explainable soundbytes. In other words, don’t say “corporations are people,” an accurate statement, but needs explaining to make sense.

Rick Perry (up): I’ve already touched on Perry’s campaign today, so I’ll be brief here. Electability in a general election are a question, but there is little doubt that Perry brings a formidable challenge to Romney’s bid for the presidency.

New Hampshire GOP Presidential Debate Live-Blog

We’ll be covering the debate sponsored this evening by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader beginning at 7:30pm. The candidates participating this evening are Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, was not invited to the debate even though he met CNN’s criteria.

And before you watch the debate for tonight, here is some suggested reading: Dave Weigel has a report from the Granite State, AmSpec’s Jim Antle has a few quick thoughts on each candidate, The Hill offers five things for us to watch for this evening and a preview of tonight’s debate from The New York Times.

Voters could hand Republicans a Senate majority if Obama rejects Keystone XL

As Democrats struggle to come up with a coherent message on the proposed Keystone XL, voters in five states with potentially competitive Senate race are signaling that President Barack Obama’s decision on the oil pipeline could loom large when they head to the polls this fall.

Vulnerable “Red State” Senate Democrats have been pressuring Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and other leaders to hold a vote on Keystone XL, though the measure could be a pointless, nonbinding statement of support from the chamber. Republicans, however, want the measure brought up as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy bill, a nonstarter for Democratic leadership.

Democrats are in one helluva pickle on Keystone XL. On one hand they have their radical environmentalist base and big money donors like Tom Steyer. On the other, they have vulnerable members running for reelection in states in which there is support for the oil pipeline.

But utterly meaningless on statements of support in the Senate or even a binding resolution may not be enough for Democrats running in competitive Senate races. New polling, conducted by Hickman Analytics for Consumer Energy Alliance, finds that Democrats could face problems if President Obama rejects Keystone XL.


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