Look at Poll Before You Open Your Piehole

Ryan Lizza, traditional DC journalist, on the Political Scene podcast on Friday (at around 9:00):

[…]The Republicans keep expanding the number of races where they’re competitive. New Hampshire looks like it’s going to be competitive for Republicans now with Scott Brown, remember Scott Brown the Senator from Massachusetts […]

Harry Enten, writing on Friday for the new 538, which just launched:

But if Brown, a Republican, decides to run, he will face tough odds against the seat’s current occupant, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. She’s a rare example of a popular Democratic senator in a swing state. The latest Boston Herald/Suffolk University survey gave Shaheen a 13 percentage-point advantage, which matches a January WMUR University of New Hampshire Granite State poll pegging Shaheen’s lead at 10 points.

Indeed, there is little evidence that voters want to replace Shaheen. People like her. Shaheen’s net favorable rating is +16 points. Compare that with endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, whose net approval rating is -9 points.

But forget Shaheen’s strength; Brown is weak. His net favorability, an average -10 points in the two polls, shows that more Granite Staters dislike him than like him. In fact, Brown’s net favorable ratings are lower than every other GOP contender included in the January UNH poll. A less famous but more well-liked nominee might give Shaheen a stronger challenge.

I’ll take the 538 approach every fucking day and twice on Sunday, because at least they look at a goddam poll instead of just pumping the latest DC narrative, which in this case is that Democrats are going to lose the Senate.

79 replies
  1. 1
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    Heh. In Nate Silver’s world–a.k.a. the “real” world–Scott Brown is pretty much a 0.0 WAR player.

  2. 2
    Cervantes says:

    Brown is looking for money further afield than he did last time. I think it’s too early to tell if that will make a difference (in amount raised or in effect on opinions). Right now the polls look good to me.

  3. 3
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    This is great news for Republicans!

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    MSM has told me the democrats are losing big this year. In fact, they say it so often, it might make some stay home rather then vote. hmmm, One has to wonder whether or not the repubs planned it this way.

  5. 5
    Jewish Steel says:

    Lizza is a putz. I stopped listening to that podcast specifically because he and Cassidy were just a pair of the dreariest CW mimeographs.

  6. 6
    cokane says:

    Enten’s on the money. Indeed a less-famous but New Hampshire Republican would probably give Shaheen a stronger challenge. They’re picky in the live free or die state.

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    NH has voted for a republican for president once in the past six elections[1], they have a democratic governor, two Democratic members in the House, and one Democratic senator.

    Why is New Hampshire considered a swing state to begin with?

    [1] Bush won in 2000 by ~7000 votes with over a half million cast.

  8. 8
    Alexandra says:

    Reading a couple of Nate Silver’s posts, so far, he’s had a pop at Will George, Michael Barone, Peggy Noonan… and Megan McArdle.

    He’s on a mission.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    Lizza is a New Yorker writer, so he ought to be smarter than that. Covering politics inside the beltway just damages you.

    Just goes to show you that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

  10. 10
    boatboy_srq says:

    New Hampshire looks like it’s going to be competitive for Republicans now with Scott Brown, remember Scott Brown the Senator from Massachusetts

    Way to describe the modern carpetbagger. Venue-shopping appears to be the latest GOTea grifter shtick.

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    Yeah, the WaPost has been telling us the Democrats’ situation is hopeless for quite some time now.

    MSM is training us not to read/watch them. Dumbifying.

  12. 12
    srv says:

    Well I’m certainly convinced by some blogger talking about some “journalist” pollster who does baseball analysis.

    If the people at the newspapers and networks weren’t real experts, they wouldn’t be employed.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    boatboy_srq says:

    @BGinCHI: I have a friend who insists there’s a 30-point IQ penalty for crossing the state line into FL from GA. I think there’s a comparable one associated with signing a lease/mortgage inside the DC beltway.

  15. 15
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @boatboy_srq: I think he really underestimates the New Hampshirite “Hey. go back to Massachusetts, asshole” element.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    It appears that 538 is having problem with their roll-out. I blame Obama

  17. 17
    Cervantes says:


    Lizza is a New Yorker writer, so he ought to be smarter than that.

    And Malcolm Gladwell?

  18. 18
    muddy says:

    I saw a clip of Scott Brown announcing his tour, he’s really pushing a NH accent. I was not previously aware of him doing this, and I was amused. Don’t sound like a flatlander, Scott, doesn’t poll well, wouldn’t be prudent.

  19. 19
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Sam Wang hasn’t posted anything since Lou Reed died.

    (During the shutdown episode he was speculating about the possibility of Democrats retaking the House, though even then he admitted it was something of a long shot.)

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It’s partly migration from Massachusetts that appears to be transforming New Hampshire politics.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @boatboy_srq: Way to describe the modern carpetbagger.

    Actually not that uncommon in the Senate. Prior to Kirsten Gillibrand, the last holder of that seat who had a prior political connection to New York State was Charles Goodell, who was appointed to fill the seat when the carpetbagger before, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

  22. 22
    🍀 Martin says:

    Yeah, but Nate doesn’t unskew his polls. Once you do that, you find that Scott Brown has a net approval of +31 and should win New Hampshire by over 1.5 million votes.

    @Matt McIrvin: I’m pretty sure Sam Wang isn’t Lou Reed. He certainly didn’t look much like Lou Reed on TV, but then plastic surgery is pretty good these days.

  23. 23
    JWR says:

    It seems that no matter where I look, from TPM’s daily “What if Republican’s Win?” scenarios, to my local TV news, that really is all I hear. What I don’t hear is how they’ve reached this conclusion. Where are the polls showing a Republican win?

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cervantes: You want me to list all of the great ones?

    Lizza is a feature writer who explicitly covers politics for the smartest magazine in the country. Gladwell writes about stuff even Tom Friedman could understand. There ought to be a big difference, and usually is when Lizza is doing a deep story. He’s done lots of good work there.

    He’s no Jane Mayer though.

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cervantes: Sure, places like Hudson and Nashua are full of Massholes who don’t want to pay property tax, so commute to work in Burlington or Billerica, and they’ll vote, but they don’t tend to run for office.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @boatboy_srq: Yep indeedy. Especially if you start getting paid the big bucks.

  27. 27
    🍀 Martin says:

    @boatboy_srq: Eh. We’re a pretty mobile nation. Hell, our previous governor came from the Hyborian Age. Moving to New Hampshire is nothing compared to that.

  28. 28
    another Holocene human says:

    @boatboy_srq: There may be such a penalty, but it sure as hell ain’t at the ga-fla border. Though it might seem that way if you love Savannah and decided to visit NE Florida.

    But, in general, “our religious fanatics can beat up your religious fanatics” does not in my book indicate that the Creator has endowed you with an unfair portion of wits.

  29. 29
    mk3872 says:

    Scott Brown, Chris Christie and other supposed middle-of-the-road Repubs are the media darlings of the DC Morning Joe beltway journalists.

    So no matter how unpopular they are or how many elections they lose, they’ll also be favorites in the elite media’s eyes.

  30. 30
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That may be why he’s unwilling to make it a no-outside-funding contest: he knows the NewHampshireites aren’t in the least interested in giving him money.

  31. 31
    another Holocene human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: hey hey, New Hampshirites were assholes before it was cool. (Not to mention death metal fanatics. See state motto/hero.)

  32. 32
    Petorado says:

    I’ll take the 538 approach every fucking day and twice on Sunday, because at least they look at a goddam poll

    Tsk tsk, Mistermix. Conservatives have never let facts, let alone poll numbers, get in the way of their narrative. It shall be so because the media will create that reality for them.

  33. 33
    Cervantes says:


    You want me to list all of the great ones?

    Couldn’t hurt, but no, I don’t need you to.

    I was just objecting to the stated (or was it implied?) notion that being a New Yorker writer ipso facto means you’re worth taking seriously. Gladwell was my (first) counter-example.

    Also I don’t know that the New Yorker is “the smartest magazine in the country.” That’s a strong statement — and your opinion, sure, I understand that.

    I do agree with you about Ryan Lizza generally; and I certainly agree with you about Jane Mayer.

    PS: I did not listen to the podcast. Did you? Is there anything there that would extricate Lizza from this muddle?

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I was listening to Bob Edwards’ Weekend yesterday, and he had Doyle McManus on* to discuss the latest political news. Between the two of them just assuming as if it were a given, that the Dems will do very badly in the 2014 midterms, I was ready to throw something at the radio. Or throw the radio, period.

    I actually used to like and respect Bob Edwards, thirty years ago, when he was an actual journalist. Now he’s just another one who’s decided it’s pretty comfortable in the Village, wouldn’t want to do anything to change that.

    *(Doyle McManus is always on Bob Edwards’ Weekend, every single week, no matter what. Yet he is invariably introduced as a Very Special Guest. Weird.)

    (I used to like Doyle McManus, too, back when Washington Week in Review was worth watching.)

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    Look, I’m as down as the next beaten down Democrat, and I’ve never really recovered my optimism after the 2010 drubbing. I want to be proven wrong. But our voters are weaker and hard to motivate and 1/2 the Democrats give the impression of being embarassed by large swaths of their constituencies. But having McDodo go on and on about how Scott Brown was the capstone of a bad week reminds me that the New York pundits are really full of themselves if they think anyone outside of the 32nd floor restroom of 1 Times Square actually listens to them when deciding who to vote for. Harold Ford is not a Senator in New York. Anthony Weiner is not Mayor. Why would anyone expect people in New Hampshire would be as thrilled as New York High Hairs to replace their Senator with Scott Brown?

  36. 36
    cokane says:

    @Alexandra: woah link me the McCardle jab

  37. 37
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Maybe – but it takes ‘nads (or borscht-for-brians) to put the current race in the same sentence with the candidate’s idenfication with the prior out of state office.

  38. 38
    Big R says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Clearly Sam Wang was, in fact, Lou Reed.

  39. 39
    shelly says:

    remember Scott Brown the Senator from Massachusetts

    How many times can he talk about his truck?

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cervantes: It’s not that everyone is automatically smart or correct, but they have a gigantic pool of talent there. They put a wrong foot on fiction and poetry and often reviews (esp. books if it’s the fucking dance critic doing it or when Hilton Als reviews a Shakespeare production), but their features are just amazing.

    No one does what they do, period.

  41. 41
    boatboy_srq says:

    @another Holocene human: She’s a Nyawkah. Maybe she didn’t notice the rest of the Land of Derp on her way south.

  42. 42
    Cervantes says:


    back when Washington Week in Review was worth watching.

    For me, that was in the early ’70s after Max Kampelman left and Robert MacNeil took over. Paul Duke was OK; his successors have been mediocre; Gwen Ifill aspires to mediocrity.

  43. 43
    Alexandra says:


    Apologies. Just looking at the piece again, it’s eight months old. Must have been written for the NYT, I’m guessing and archived on the new site.

  44. 44
    cokane says:

    @Alexandra: thanks still a pleasure

  45. 45
    Cervantes says:

    @BGinCHI: Glad to hear how much you like it! I’ve been reading it since the days of Harold Ross. I like it, too (apparently).

  46. 46
    Fair Economist says:

    Brown’s chances are pretty slim, but that in itself is not helpful for the Democrats holding the Senate. Right now I’d put it at 50-50. There are right now, by Sabato’s estimate, 48 Lean-D or better and 3 tossups (LA, NC, and AK). Normally, going back to at least 2000, all the tossups fall in the same direction, and it seems pretty random at this point. So, if the elections day leans D we hold, and if it leans R we lose, and that seems pretty 50-50.

    Other people have different estimates, but everything I’ve seen has it coming down to the tossups.

    I think we have a much better chance if the Democrats can get behind one of the things our position is really popular on: minimum wage, income inequality, or the individual parts of Obamacare. But it’s not looking too promising. Pryor, the idiot, came out against the minimum wage hike, and, predictably, Arkansas has moved from tossup last year to leans-R now. At this point I think Grimes has a better chance than Pryor, ratings notwithstanding, because she seems to understand that spitting on core Democratic values (a decent living for the working poor in this case) is *not* how a Democrat gets elected.

  47. 47
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Scotty Brown is delusional if he thinks the New Hampshire electorate is going to go for a Massachusetts transplant. The only thing those yokels-by-choice want from Massachusetts is toll money and purchases from their state-run liquor stores.

  48. 48
    catclub says:

    remember in 2003 when there was no coverage of anti-war protests? Andrew Tobias notes the same thing yesterday,but in Russia, and lack of coverage in both Russian AND Western media. Why?


    Did I miss a post here that mentioned this?

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    Is there a Democratic woman who the MSM has ever thought couldn’t be defeated by a man? I’m not talking “Hillary is inevitable” kind of thing. But remembering how the Times tried to foist Weiner on New Yorkers to avoid Quinn (and seriously going after Quinn for being “tempramental”), and Harold Ford on New Yorkers to run against Gillenbrand (she’s too “upstate”), definitely favoring Brown over both Coakley and Warren – I’m trying to remember the last Democrat woman they didn’t try to destabilize.

    *I’m not going to count “Hillary is inevitable”, mainly because for 8 years as first lady, they certainly ran with the “That Hillary is not very much of a lady.”

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Income tax libel!

    They don’t want to pay INCOME tax, and they think their prop tax will be lower because homes are cheaper in NH, of course they’re cheaper in NH because the economy is weaker. In %age terms the prop tax in NH is going to be worse and it buys less government thereby, so kind of a bad deal! However, NH-MA commuters must have some sort of hold on MassHighway because the generous taxpayers of MA paid a whole lotta money to make their commute easier on Rt 2. Oddly, attempts to provide alternative transportation, commuter rail to Concord, are going nowhere as per usual. Though that does not stop NH residents from being the most eager & often users of the Maine & Mass bankrolled Amtrak Downeaster. They lurve them some trains, just not paying for them, you know, bqwhatevr.

    NH is basically Massachusetts’ Poconos. If you’re real old WASP money then you own property in Maine (summers in Maine keep the blood thin and blue and help keep that perma frown set in) and if you’re nouveau riche you buy property on the Cape like an asshole, but if you’re neither, you get a Granite State summer home so you can sit in traffic waiting for the tolls every weekend.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @boatboy_srq: If you take I-95 you see more pine trees than people, so it’s easy to make that mistake.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    But Cilizza works from ‘the gut’. Has conviction and authenticity behind it.

  53. 53
    Cervantes says:

    @jl: Cillizza ≠ Lizza.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @catclub: The best little boy in the world doesn’t have the best website, but from what you said about the media blackout, that is why I get my news from LGF. They reblog tweets. Better news than the frigging news.

  55. 55
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cervantes: Cilizza is the “shill” version of Lizza. It’s right there in the name.

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I have not really looked around the news, but it seems to NOT be in the air to report that. Maybe tweets will make up for that.

    I went to the Google news Crimea page and nothing, until I made a search on “Russia antiwar protest”

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    When she ran for senator from New York, Hillary definitely got hit with that meme, too. Rick Lazio was unbeatable until she won 55/43.

  58. 58
    Joel says:

    @srv: Your faith is hopelessly misplaced.

  59. 59
    Peter says:

    @Fair Economist: Remember how we were doomed to lose the Senate in 2012, too?

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @Suffern ACE: I would guess – without real factual knowledge – that Dixy Lee Ray in Washington State, might qualify.

  61. 61
    catclub says:

    @MikeJ: “Why is New Hampshire considered a swing state to begin with?”

    Probably because out of the rest of New England, only Maine is less reliably blue than NH.
    Maine is really under performing.

  62. 62
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    Hey it’s hard out there for a (narrative) pimp!!

  63. 63
    geg6 says:


    Me likey.

  64. 64
    geg6 says:


    Ooooo, touche.

  65. 65
    geg6 says:


    The really frightening thing is that many of those very DC beltway Morning Joe/Village blatherers are now pushing the meme that the GOP establishment, now that Christie is looking like toast and no one thinks anyone named Bush can win, is now going to rally around…ta da! Joe Scarborough in ’16!

    The FSM simply doesn’t love me enough to make that happen.

  66. 66
    IowaOldLady says:

    Scott Brown is ridiculous. Even most carpetbaggers haven’t held the Senate seat from a neighboring state within the last 5 years.

    The structural issues are against the Ds this year. What I’d like to see is a positive strategy for fighting that rather than the hope that the Rs will once again screw themselves by nominating lunatics.

  67. 67
    the Conster says:

    Scott Brown is extremely unlikeable, which is usually an attribute for a gooper, but in his case his unlikeability comes with the insincerity of shopping for votes he couldn’t sustain in Mass. And the truck shtick thing is old. He’s got nothing.

  68. 68
    Seanly says:

    I don’t know much about NH politics, but most folks tend not to like outsiders coming in & pretending to be one of them just to win an election. Has Scott Brown even bought a ranch in NH where he can clear brush?

    Yes, I am aware that Hillary was not a real New Yorker when she won her Senate position.

    Something I don’t get is why every 2 years is a much tougher year for Senate Democrats than Republicans? I seem to have been hearing this for the last 4 or 5 cycles.

  69. 69
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Seanly: Because D voters don’t turn out in off years. Why that is is a different question.

  70. 70
    catclub says:

    @IowaOldLady: 2006

  71. 71

    New Hampshire looks like it’s going to be competitive for Republicans now with Scott Brown, remember Scott Brown the Senator from Massachusetts

    Underwear model Scott Brown.

    From Massachusetts.

    Running in New Hampshire.

    Good fucking luck. If he pulls 27% I’d be stunned.

  72. 72
    IowaOldLady says:

    @catclub: Ya got me there.

  73. 73
    Cervantes says:

    @the Conster:

    Scott Brown is extremely unlikeable


    I recall that at one point in 2012, nearly 60% of likely voters found Brown likeable. In that same poll, even when only Democrats were asked, more found him likeable than Warren.

    Do New Hampshire voters like him a lot less (yet?)

  74. 74
    noabsolutes says:

    Also, how is it not patently absurd that this guy was just a Senator from a totally different state five minutes ago? Not like he lived in a different state or had a hunting license from a different state, but he represented a different state in the United States Senate…!

  75. 75
    Ian says:

    Don’t worry the FSM loves you. Mornin’ Joe has too many moderate votes and dead interns for this to ever be more than a grift campaign.

  76. 76
    Cervantes says:


    Has Scott Brown even bought a ranch in NH where he can clear brush?

    He has owned a home in New Hampshire for years, since before he was in the US Senate.

    It’s one of five or so properties he owns with his wife.

  77. 77
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s backwards: property tax is higher in NH than in Massachusetts, because NH has no income or sales tax. But if your job is in Massachusetts, you have to pay Mass. income tax anyway, so I don’t think it’s really advantageous to commute from NH at all.

  78. 78
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Seanly: Midterm, special and off-year elections have much lower turnout than presidential elections. Lower turnout tends to favor Republicans, because old white people, especially retirees, vote more consistently than just about anyone else.

    2006 was a major exception; it took some remarkable suckage on the part of the Bush administration to get that result.

  79. 79
    Kasey says:

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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