Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A tale of one Concord voting precinct

I have not had a chance to really check out any of the voting precincts today, only my own. I think, after hearing some of the details, you'll get a sense of where things are headed tonight.

First, Obama kids were everywhere around Concord this morning and this afternoon, doing last minute canvassing. I probably saw about 10 of them in the morning and another six or seven in the afternoon, in two different parts of town. Hillary supporters were out on various street corners around Concord in the late morning, standing in pairs with signs. There were Ron Paul supporters on Main Street, like they have been for weeks.

At the actual polling precinct, there were two people standing out for Hillary, three for Edwards, three for McCain, five or six for Paul [most holding both Ron Paul and anti-war signs], and about eight or nine people for Obama. This is pretty good poll coverage for the middle of the afternoon. There were a few Romney and Rudy signs but no people there representing the campaign or other campaigns. A plane was flying around Concord in circles dragging a "Ron Paul Love Revolution" banner.

One odd thing I noticed was that there were no poll checkers in the Ward. Usually, even in small race, there is extensive polling beforehand and then, campaign workers at the polls, checking the votes coming in. There were no poll checkers inside. Every effective GOTV operation has these people inside the polls making sure their campaign's voters get out to vote. This was very, very odd.

There are about 3,300 registered voters in the Ward. As of 3 p.m., more than 1,300 had voted, or about 40 percent. That is pretty good with five hours left of voting. In the 2006 midterms, 55 percent voted and in the 2004 general, 74 percent voted. About 55 percent voted in the 2004 presidential primary [245 taking Republican ballots, 1,084 taking Democratic ballots]. John Kerry beat Howard Dean by about 110 votes that day. Interestingly, in just for years, more than 900 new voters have registered in the Ward.

The Ward is a liberal, affluent, lawyerly area, with new McMansions, patches of working class families, and wooded areas and farmland. The registration breakdown for the 2004 primary looked like this: 35 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican, 31 percent undeclared. Some of the election returns looked like this: Democrat Paul Hodes beat incumbent GOP Rep. Charlie Bass here in 2006 by an almost two-to-one margin. Hodes beat Bass by a slim 200-plus votes in 2004, with John Lynch besting incumbent Gov. Craig Benson by more than three-to-one. Kerry bested President Bush by more than two-to-one.

So, it is easy to guess that tends to trend a bit more on the liberal side than conservative side and it would make sense that there would not be a ton of Republican sign holders at the precinct. McCain, as we all know, is drawing independent voters, which is why his campaign probably sent sign holders to the Ward.

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