Hope for Hodes?
07-29-2010
I usually tell anyone who will listen to avoid pinning your hopes on a single poll, or even a couple of polls. It’s human nature to selectively affirm poll numbers that reinforce your candidate or party preferences, while discounting those that do not. I see this behavior all the time among the voters, party elites, and campaign staffs who closely follow political contests. You are better off looking at how the averages move over time, in order to get a realistic sense of how the race is progressing (for example, Pollster.com aggregates polls for lots of key races).
 
Still, I don’t want to deprive the many New Hampshire Democrats who have been starved for some positive campaign news of an opportunity to feel a bit better about their candidate for U.S. Senate, Rep. Paul Hodes. As we’ve seen this week in new polling results from Public Policy Polling (despite the confusing press releases) and WMUR-TV's Granite State Poll, Hodes has made up some ground against various potential general election opponents. I have been arguing since last February that Hodes will get his best opportunity to close the gap after the Republican primary in September, and my guess is that he will need to do it primarily with the help of a large turnout of our state’s Democratic voters.
 
While it is possible that Gov. Sarah Palin’s recent endorsement of Kelly Ayotte could be a drag on Ayotte’s ability to attract independents in the general election, the Granite State Poll data suggest that Ayotte could still be pretty strong with that group of voters in November. So, Hodes will need to continue bringing heretofore ambivalent Democrats back into the fold. After this week, perhaps a few more of these voters will think he can do it.


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