After taking a look (here and here, on SSP here and here) to see how our two re-elected reps grew in strength from ’06 to ’08, I thought it might be a good idea to see how they fared compared to Jeanne Shaheen, the next step up on the ticket (NH-Sen). It’s an especially interesting question with the first election behind us in many years without straight-ticket voting.
With very few exceptions (Danville, New Boston, and Rindge), both Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Paul Hodes (NH-02) gained higher vote percentages than Jeanne Shaheen in towns big and small, liberal and conservative, rural and urban.
The following charts track the ten biggest percentage discrepancies between Shea-Porter/Hodes and Shaheen for all towns and cities with more than 2000 votes cast for the congressional race in 2008. For ease of use in plugging the numbers into a spreadsheet (full data available here), I chose the lists at NHPR rather than the SoS. Any mistakes are my own.
Town Shaheen % CSP % % Diff. Votes Cast Rye 44.2 51.4 7.2 3693 Moltnboro 36.2 41.9 5.7 2967 Greenland 50.9 54.9 4 2227 Conway 55.1 59 3.9 5020 Strafford 50.5 54.2 3.7 2310 Seabrook 45.7 49.2 3.5 3988 Portsmouth 64.7 68.1 3.4 12326 N.Hampton 46.9 49.9 3 2810 Lee 61 64 3 2486
And I’ll throw in number 11 on the list, because ManchVegas is where so many of the votes are to be found in CD1:
Town Shaheen % CSP % % Diff. Votes Cast Manchester 52.3 55.1 2.8 46268
Now on to CD2 and Paul Hodes. Even greater discrepancies are to be found in the western half of the state:
Town Shaheen % Hodes % % Diff. Votes Cast Newport 50.7 59.4 8.7 2845 Littleton 49.9 57.8 7.9 2699 Claremont 56.8 64.2 7.4 5480 Henniker 52.9 59.8 6.9 2405 New London 47.3 54.2 6.9 2788 Pembroke 51.4 56.8 5.4 3580 Weare 43.4 48.7 5.3 4447 Plymouth 62.7 67.9 5.2 3457 Hanover 73.6 78.7 5.1 6912
I’m going to resist interpreting this data too closely, other than to say that it’s clear that Carol and Paul, despite being lower on the ballot, performed better than Shaheen. There are so many ways to answer why – and some of them non-exclusionary to others – that I’m not sure what conclusions can be drawn fairly.
Factors to consider: John Sununu was arguably a tougher opponent than Jeb Bradley (NH-01), who in turn was tougher than Jennifer Horn (NH-02). Sununu and Shea-Porter and Hodes were all incumbents. Shaheen was on the receiving end of far the greatest deluge of negative ads, followed closely by Carol, and finally Paul.
While I have a hard time drawing conclusions about ’08 from these numbers, I will happily draw from them for 2010. Carol and Paul, by their strong showing relative to a senate nominee with tremendous name recognition, can both point to their results as ammunition for re-election down he road or even a run at the senate.
(Crossposted from Blue Hampshire, because I like to send my geekier vote analysis posts over here to SSP.)