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Political Strategy Notes

Not a big fan of Gov Christie of NJ. But it was good to see somebody nail former Ambassador Huntsman for his shameless backstabbing careerism in going after the job of the guy who gave him his biggest break. It resonates particularly well after Huntsman's sanctimonious "I want to be very clear with the people here in New Hampshire and in this country. I will always put my country first." Substitute "career" for "country" and you have the real key to Huntsman's character.

Despite's Huntsman's zinger citing Romney as exhibit "A" showing why the country is so divided, I have to agree with Joe Klein's assessment in Time Swampland that "No one really laid a glove on him, not even in the NBC debate on Sunday morning, which was far sharper and more substantive than the ABC debate last night. There was a reason for Romney's success-and it pains me to disclose it: he was well-prepped by his consultants. His answers were clear, concise, declarative sentences. None of the other candidates seemed to have been prepped at all."

Elizabeth Warren gets the Fenway thing a lot better than did Martha Coakley.

Mackenzie Weinger of Politico reports a new Pew poll which indicates that 51 percent of "Republican and GOP-leaning voters said the candidates are excellent or good," compared to 68 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters said they had good Republican candidates four years ago.

Here's an interesting wrinkle from The Hill: John McCain faults the Citizens United decision for having a "damaging" impact on the GOP presidential field. "...It's also the result of the worst decision, I think, in at least the last 50 years or so, of the United States Supreme Court called Citizens United, where they basically unleashed without transparency, without accountability, huge amounts of money from these so-called independent campaigns, which you and I know are not independent."

Nate Silver and Micah Cohen make the case that "Ground Game Determines Candidates' Strength," noting that Paul and Romney have the most stable numbers of the current GOP field and the most well-organized campaigns.

New Hampshire's influence as the earliest primary state could be overshadowed by it's importance as the state with the strongest pro-GOP trend since 2010, according to Chris Palko at Campaigns & Elections. In addition to the largest swing in the state legislature in 2010, "according to Gallup, only Rhode Island saw a greater decline in Democratic Party identification from 2008 to 2010."

Quentin Fottrell of SmartMoney.com has some worthwhile insights in "10 Things Pollsters Won't Tell You: Why you should think twice about those survey results this election season." Among Fottrell's insights: "People lie to say what they think is acceptable" ("social respectability bias"), ""The way we ask the questions can determine the answers" and "We're being outclassed by social network sites."

Robert Reich's "How a Little Bit of Good Economic News Can Be Bad for the President" notes a political booby-trap which may lie ahead for President Obama -- encouraged discouraged workers.

HuffPo Pollster Mark Blumenthal crunches the numbers and comes up with "...An average across all polls should produce the clearest picture of the outcome...As of this writing it shows Romney's support declining slightly (to 36.8 percent) followed by Ron Paul (at 17.6 percent), with Huntsman just a point and a half behind (at 16.0 percent) and rising fast, followed by Rick Santorum (11.6 percent), Newt Gingrich (10.0 percent) and Rick Perry (0.9 percent). Huntsman's momentum is on a track to catch Paul, though who will finish on top is one of those things about which polling simply cannot be certain."