Monday, January 07, 2008

Have a Cigar, You're Gonna Go Far

A long-standing Portsmouth tradition is the matchbook poll at Federal Cigar on Ladd Street in downtown Portsmouth. (Customers simply drop a matchbook into a bag with their preferred candidate's name on it.) About an hour ago, the Portsmouth Herald announced the results. Herald reporters Adam Leech and Deborah McDermott report that owner Leonard Seagren claims the 24-year-running poll has an "80% success rate." Presumably that is in predicting the winners only, rather than the rankings of the entire field. Here are the results:


Ron Paul (31 percent)
John McCain (27 percent)
Rudy Giuliani (21 percent)
Mike Huckabee (10 percent)
Mitt Romney (8 percent)
Fred Thompson (2 percent)
Duncan Hunter (no votes).


Barack Obama (46 percent)
Dennis Kucinich (17 percent)
John Edwards (17 percent)
Hillary Clinton (13 percent)
Joe Biden (4 percent)
Chris Dodd (3 percent)
Bill Richardson (1 percent).

Decidedly low-tech and wholly unscientific, this poll remains one of my favorite things about the NH Primary in general and Portsmouth in particular. Certainly, reading the tea leaves -- or cigar ashes? -- of this poll can impart insight into the mind of the voter, and can be an early indicator of surprises and upsets, (e.g., Hart, Gary in 1984.)

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