Grizzly Mistake

It's too bad that Sarah Palin wasn't paying more attention when she endorsed Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire senate race. A quick closing Ovide Lamontagne may just snatch the GOP nomination away from the appointed state attorney general, and Sarah would have enjoyed Ovide as much as the rest of us will if he can pull it off.

On the heels of a Sunday night poll showing Ayotte's lead narrowing to 7 percentage points comes a primary eve poll released late Monday afternoon by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies.

And, writes John DiStaso in the Union Leader, the Monday poll is even better than the Sunday survey.

It shows Ayotte with 35 percent, Lamontagne with 31 percent, Bill Binnie with 14 percent and Jim Bender with 10 percent. Other candidates drew 3 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

The margin of error is listed as 3 percent, meaning that if the poll is correct, Lamontagne is now nearly in a statistical dead heat with Ayotte, who has been the front-runner for the nomination since she entered the race in the summer of 2009.

Lamontagne is the sort of constitutional conservative who matches up nicely with Palin's principles, and he's the outsider candidate. Ayotte is the choice of the power structure, a selection made before voter resistance to being force fed their candidates grew so strong.

The new Magellan poll is the latest in a series of polls showing a Lamontagne surge.

A Magellan poll released on Sept. 3 gave the first indication that Lamontagne was closing. It showed him passing Binnie and moving into second place, but behind Ayotte, 34 to 21 percent.Lamontagne's campaign released a poll at mid-week last week showing Lamontagne trailing by 10 percentage points.

After an effective performance in the WMUR-New Hampshire Union Leader Granite State Debate last Thursday, Lamontagne drew to within 7 percentage points in the Public Policy Polling survey.

The new Magellan poll has Lamontagne picking up 10 points since its Sept. 3 release.

Cynical rich guy Bill Binnie wanted to give buying the nomination a try, allowing his hired guns to try to destroy the candidacy of Kelly Ayotte. While Ayotte, a novice candidate who is not a great communicator may have been damaged by the mudslinging, The effect was, happily, worse for Binnie, who has been buried under the weight of his own ugliness.

Most of Lamontagne's increased support has come from previous supporters of Binnie and Bender, and from undecided voters.

While Binnie's collapse has been a sign of angels in the political universe, the similar poor showing of Jim Bender is unfortunate. A solid, sincere candidate, Bender would have been a good nominee. But, in the end, a Lamontagne victory will be terrific - he will be able to beat leftist Congressman Paul Hodes and keep the Judd Gregg seat in conservative hands.

Sarah maybe just wanted to go with the girl, but she made a Grizzly mistake.