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Monday, September 25, 2006

NH-02: Sock-Puppetry, Polls, and More!

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm back from my fantastic honeymoon (the wedding was beyond amazing as well), and after a pleasant Rosh Hashanah, I'm hitting the ground running here. Quite a bit of goings on in my favorite district, NH-02, of late. First, today's big news, from Roll Call (reprinted with permission at Raw Story):

Liberal bloggers in New Hampshire busted an aide to Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) who was posing as a liberal blogger on such blogs as Blue Granite, NH-02 Progressive and others. Bass’ office admitted culpability to HOH and said the staffer would be “appropriately disciplined.”

The unnamed aide to Bass — who, like many others in his party, faces a tough re-election fight — was routinely trolling liberal New Hampshire political blogs calling himself “IndyNH” and more commonly IndieNH, pretending to be a progressive.

Finally, after noticing that lots of things he said just didn’t add up, a couple of the bloggers traced IndieNH’s IP address to the House of Representatives.

And they thought, “How many offices in the U.S. House would be interested in one race in New Hampshire?” The answer: Very few. Probably only one.

Indeed, it was only one - as the article says, Bass's office copped to the charge. How pathetic, considering how many campaigns have gotten into hot water lately for similar shenanigans. Anyhow, major kudos to MissLaura, Keener and Yankee Doodler for uncovering this scandal. Great detective work! Hopefully we'll see some more tradmed coverage soon.

(I should note that IndyNH put in an appearance here at Swing State once. Like Clemenza says, I bet we won't see him no more.)

In other news, Paul Hodes is up on the air with his first ad, available at YouTube:

New Hampshire TV station WMUR also did a story on this. (Thanks to MissLaura for the links.)

Separately, two polls on this race came out recently. The first, from Research 2000 for the Concord Monitor (likely voters, no trendlines):

Hodes (D): 30
Bass (R-inc.): 55
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±6%)

Clearly bad news for Hodes, but don't ignore the huge MoE. Also, R2K says they tried to match NH voter registration numbers with their sample, but there are two problems here. First, they only describe their statewide sample, without providing district breakdowns. Second, Dem ID is on the rise. The last two SUSA polls (here and here) which measured Bush's statewide approval rating showed Dem ID outstripping the voter reg numbers - not surprising, given the climate. So if you slavishly follow the stats from the Secretary of State, you are probably understating Democratic performance.

Also, as far as I can tell, this poll didn't ask any benchmark questions, such as George Bush's approval rating. A good pollster always tosses in a few questions like that just so you can have a basis for comparison. If you get a Bush approval rating 10 points higher (or lower) than other pollsters are showing, then your horserace results are probably useless. Without such a benchmark, this poll is just floating in the ether.

The other poll was commissioned by the DCCC and conducted by the Mellman Group (no trendlines):

Hodes (D): 41
Bass (R-inc.): 41

We don't have the full details on this one, but it's almost exactly in line with the Hodes campaign's own internal poll from a little while back. Also, the pollster here had the good sense to ask Bush's approval. In the 2nd district, it stands at a mere 30%. This makes sense - SUSA's last poll had him at 35% statewide, and as we all know, NH-02 is more Dem than the state as a whole.

If you've been following this race closely (and chance are you have, if you're a regular SSP reader), you know that the polls have been all over the place. UNH and R2K showed big gaps, while two Dem polls showed the race neck-and-neck. It's tempting to say that the truth must lie somewhere in between, but I'm not inclined to believe that. The UNH poll had some pretty serious flaws, and R2K simply hasn't provided enough information for us to properly assess their poll.

But to me, the most telling thing is still the fact that we have not heard a single peep from Charlie Bass or the NRCC regarding any polls of their own. A month ago, I passed along word that Bass had apparently gone into the field. Even if that tidbit was mistaken, surely, surely Bass has taken a poll for himself by now. If he hasn't, that would be so stupid as to be criminally negligent. (Though based on what we've seen, I wouldn't put that past him.)

So why haven't we seen it yet? If it confirmed the numbers from the independent pollsters, Bass would have undoubtedly released it by now. His failure to do so can only mean that his own polling shows him doing materially worse than the UNH & R2K numbers. And that doesn't surprise me at all.

Posted at 12:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Technorati

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Thanks, David, for covering this little story of ours. Congrats and welcome back!

It always makes me giggle a bit to see that the sockpuppet's handle matches Bass' undying campaign theme - "Indy-pendence".

Posted by: yankeedoodler [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2006 06:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment