Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Guessing Game

New Hampshire, which as we all know holds the First in the Nation Primary (if you didn't know, then look to their Constitution, which stipulates they go first no matter what), is apparently gearing up for 2016, and apparently New Hampshire voters know something the rest of us don't--who is running.

WMUR, in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire, has published, to great fanfare, their recent poll which shows who would win the New Hampshire Primary on the Democrat and Republican tickets.  That is, the 2016 primary.   Here is how it breaks down. 
For the Democrats, the clear winner is (drumroll) Hillary Clinton, who gets 61% of the support among those in the survey, followed by Joe Biden(7%), NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (3%), Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts (3%), VA Senator Mark Warner (2%), Newark Mayor (and my personal favorite) Corey Booker (1%), and former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (1%).

For the GOP, the clear frontrunners (at 15%) are KY Senator Rand Paul and FL Senator Marco Rubio, Followed by NJ Governor Chris Christie (11%), Paul Ryan (11%), NH Senator Kelly Ayotte (5%), former UT Governor Jon Huntsman (5%), FL Governor Jeb Bush (5%), Rick Santorum (4%), LA Governor Bobby Jindal (2%), Texas Senator Ted Cruz (2%), WI Governor Scott Walker (1%), and Ohio Senator Rob Portman (1%). I cannot fathom how Portman made the list other than his being in the news recently for coming out and admitting his love for his gay son (cue "Heather's" reference).  Why Rand Paul, you may ask?  Well New Hampshire has been the focus of the Free State Project, the decade long Libertarian strategy to move their numbers to a sparsely populated state in order to win elective office through strength in numbers.

And what is the basis to the survey?  507 New Hampshire adults, with a margin of error at +/- 4.4%, as well as 171 likely 2012 Republican Primary voters (+/- 7.5%) and 188 likely 2012 Democratic voters (+/- 7.1%)--"likely 2012 primary voters"??? I think they meant "likely 2016 primary voters".

But remember, it has nothing to do with scientific accuracy or the ability to measure the future, but instead about creating buzz so people tune in to the news reports (of which there are many), Tweet about it, and debate it on Facebook. And buzz equals profits.  And when we finally get to the Primary and the poll turns out meaningless, who is going to remember to call WMUR/UNH on it, and even if they did, who cares?

All we need do is look at a similar poll conducted by the same tandem back in 2006.  Again, 515 adults told us that the winner of the 2008 NH Primary would be...Hillary Clinton. Which they got right.  But who were her main challengers?  Closest was Senator John Edwards, VP Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, Joe Biden, General Wesley Clark, Governor Bill Richardson, and then once again, Evan Bayh and Mark Warner.  Why do NH Dems love these two relatively obscure Pols?  Not making the list? Senator Barack Obama, who had gotten a speaking spot at the 2004 Democratic National Convention had had lots of buzz around him. But nowhere on the list.  For the GOP--John McCain, Mayor Rudy, Governor Mitt Romney, Condi Ricee, Jeb Bush, George Allen, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, and even Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.  No Mike Huckabee, who came in 3d in 2008.  No Ron Paul (Free State was still young), no Fred Thompson, etc.

What is remarkable about the most recent poll is how it is prefaced by reporters and pundits with the caveat: "The election is stilll more than 3 years away, and at this point this is mere speculation." Yet they feel compelled to talk about it anyway.

So chime in, dear readers.  Since there is no penalty for guessing, who is likely to win the 2016 NH Primary on the Democrat and GOP side of the ticket?

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