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Friday, July 28, 2006

Who's Turning New Hampshire Blue?

Posted by DavidNYC

A common refrain about New Hampshire's recent trend toward the azure is that migrants from other states are responsible for this shift. True or not, Republicans - ever mindful of New Hampshire's fiercely independent streak - have used this talking point to tarnish Democrats as somehow being the beneficiaries of illegitimate outsiders. (Of course, peddling this line means that NH GOPers are dissing their own citizens, but that certainly would never stop them.)

As it turns out - don't be surprised - at least one recent poll shows that the GOP has been peddling baloney. Keener suggests we take a look at this presidential approval numbers UNH collected (PDF, page 9), broken down by length of residency:

5 years or less: 36-57
6 to 10 years: 39-59
11 to 20 years: 22-73
More than 20 years: 29-65

While few people really like George Bush very much, it sure seems that long-time New Hampshirites despise him at even greater rates than newcomers do. These results certainly make the GOP's hackery seem like B.S. However, they may not tell the whole story. Another UNH survey (PDF, page 13) from back in 2000 actually broke down party affiliation by state of birth. Take a look at this chart:

Native-born New Hampshirites are indeed more likely to be Republican than migrants, but they are also more likely to be Democrats as well. I was actually fairly surprised to see that comparatively few natives identify as independents, given the state's reputation - and motto. However, the plurality of New Hampshirites - regardless of length of residency - do ID as "moderates":

This chart also does show that newcomers are more likely to be liberal, and long-timers are more likely to be conservative. It thus seems to contradict the presidential approval results I've listed above. There are certainly plenty of possible explanations. But one thing is certain: These two charts are six years old. It may well be that the most recent batch of immigrants to New Hampshire - who would not have been covered by this poll - are actually redder than the previous wave.

No matter what the answer is, the NH GOP is pushing a line that is highly questionable at best, and is divisive no matter what. I expect nothing less from the guys who brought us the election day phone jamming scandal which has already sent several people to prison. And that's why New Hampshire Dems, as Keener is suggesting, should push back against this.

Posted at 04:00 PM in New Hampshire | Technorati

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I'm from NH. It kind of surprised us all when in 2004 the state went both for Kerry and Democratic gov candidate (now incumbent) John Lynch. I live in the NH-02 district and this year will be the first I'm able to vote against that idiot we're stuck with at the moment, Charlie Bass, so I'm pretty excited myself.

Posted by: Arlen [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 05:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

After the 2004 election, I notice from results that the majority of the Bush supporters came from within 25 miles of the Mass border. I can only believe that those people, moved from Mass to NH, were Republicans and they settled in that part of Southern NH to be closer to work and family in Mass and free from the Mass income taxes.

Posted by: Coco [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 30, 2006 10:03 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Coco, that is probably at least partly about population patterns - ie the southern part of the state has the bulk of the population so it'll have more votes total - but I think there is something to the thought that some people have moved from Massachusetts to avoid taxes.

Posted by: MissLaura [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 30, 2006 02:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment