NH 2012 GOP Primary Polling Chart




Here’s a chart showing the polling results over time of the NH 2012 Republican primary candidates.  Automatic data smoothing is turned on to make the trends visible.


  • Romney’s support has been very consistent over time, in the 35-40% band
  • Romney, Gingrich, and Paul appear to be the long-haul competitors
  • Ron Paul and Romney have the most consistent support – with the notable difference that Paul’s support continues to increase over time, while Romney’s now appears to be wavering.  Also, over the time scale here Romney’s support has shown quite a bit of oscillation while Paul’s mainly trends upwards.
  • Gingrich’s uptick in recent weeks appears to mirror Romney’s losses.  Is this a defection among Romney supporters to the Gingrich camp?
  • The media-darling poll bumps are quite apparent for Bachman, Perry, and Cain.  The length of a media-darling poll bump appears to be in Gingrich’s favor – unless he tanks it spectacularly in the next month (his opponents are already working his personal history hard).
  • The big questions are: will Romney continue to trend downward, will Gingrich’s bump fade before the primary, and if both are true, how high do Paul’s numbers reach, come January 10th?
  • The methodology for ‘likely voters’ may vary across polls, but the smoothing should help with that.  What smoothing can’t help with are demographic factors (are Independents included, how about people without landlines, why are ~3/4 of those polled over 45?)
  • Gary Johnson is excluded because the original data at Real Clear Politics excludes him.
  • Charting done with LibreOffice Calc, data smoothing setting of 11.  The textures on the data series lines are unexpected.





“Right to Work” Bill is Anti-Liberty

The way the 2011 proposed NH right-to-work legislation is written, its effect is to remove from a private employer the right to exclusively contract with a union to provide employees. The employer would hereafter be forced to hire non-union workers alongside union workers, even if that’s not the employer’s decided strategy.

I think to support this you have to assume that a private worker has a right to a job at a private employer under the employee’s terms and that the State has to step in to enforce that. The State is acting like a violent union here.

I wish the legislation had been written to actually prevent unions from being able to demand donations of its members to political action committees against their interests, but as it’s written, it looks like an anti-liberty bill to me.  In essence, it’s the State interfering in the right of private contract, for what it thinks are sound social-engineering reasons.

People I respect tell me, “yeah, but it’s the best way to achieve the greater good.”  This violates my “the means are everything,” guiding principle.  Try harder next time.

Burying Utilities in New Hampshire

We had some friends who had an exchange student from Germany. One day the power went out and he went around the house flipping the light switches, tickled that nothing happened when he did so. He had never experienced a power outage before – in Germany they bury their utility lines.

The Union Leader reports that it would cost $43 billion and take 40 years to bury power lines in New Hampshire. This number doesn’t pass the smell test. The Gross State Product of New Hampshire was $60 billion in 2010, so the cost estimate is 2/3 of the GSP.

Let’s assume each ratepayer (home, business) paid for his own underground service to the next ratepayer (so, you pay for the line from your house to your next door neighbor’s). This would mean the cost-shared amount would be equivalent to 2/3 of the median household income to install a buried line from your house to your neighbor’s house (ignoring the higher incomes of businesses for the sake of easy math, so an overestimate of actual costs) . The 2009 household median income in NH was $61,000 which would put the cost of that cable pull at about $40,000. No way that’s a real number unless somebody’s uncle is getting very rich on the deal. In this kind of massive volume, this should be more like a $4000 project for an average home. Even that seems high – we could install a generator at every home in New Hampshire for that kind of money.

Of course there are corner cases – houses a miles from the road, and long stretches of house-less road, but there are also homes right next to each other in the cities, trailer parks, and dense developments (some of which already have the lines underground) for balance. But even if we ‘only’ had every residential area with buried utilities, that would be a heck of an improvement.

Especially because I’m ignoring all business income here, on an order-of-magnitude scale, $43 billion looks very wrong. If we were to assume a $4000 cost and spread it over 40 years, that could be a rate increase of around $8/mo to get the lines underground. That doesn’t seem so bad, especially since it would restore some of the charm to our idyllic New England towns that has been lost with the tapestry of wires overhead.

I’m assuming the cost of maintenance of the underground facility is no worse than the cost of trimming 2000 miles of trees, buying telephone poles, and repairing fallen wires in storms.  I think this is a reasonable to generous assumption.

As always, correct my math if I’ve erred.