Patrick Hynes: GOP primary is in the home stretch

FAR TOO MANY New Hampshire Republican insiders act as though the primary elections for Senate and Congress are all but over, that the most recent UNH Survey Center’s Granite State Panel poll is the final word on the matter. I tend to be more curious about what voters have to say on Election Day.

Let’s be clear about what UNH’s Granite State Panel even is. The Survey Center describes it this way: “The Granite State Panel is part of an effort … to investigate new ways of gathering and understanding the opinion of New Hampshire residents. Approximately 7,500 New Hampshire adults have been recruited from randomly selected landline and cell phone numbers to participate in the panel. Panelists are then asked to participate in online surveys sponsored by the UNH Survey Center.”

This is an interesting way of trying to measure public opinion, but it comes with some drawbacks. Participants are highly engaged adults who know they will be surveyed periodically. They form their opinions much earlier than the mass of regular voters and are less likely to be undecided on issues and races.

New Hampshire voters are intelligent and well-informed, but they are not, by and large, political obsessives. Most of them — the vast majority, I dare say — will begin to examine the primary contests on Tuesday, after Labor Day weekend signals the unofficial end of summer.
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