Forum, Jan. 7: NH legislators’ pay

Published: 01-11-2023 3:50 PM

Don’t raise NH legislators’ pay

In a recent article on the upcoming legislative session, State Rep. Walt Stapleton, R-Claremont, was quoted advocating for an amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that would increase lawmakers’ pay 25-fold. No thank you. As a retired senior living on a fixed income in Stapleton‘s district, I really don’t appreciate this self-serving proposal — or Walt’s failure to mention it during his reelection campaign. The 2,400% raise he claims is necessary to make more of the state’s legislators bother to show up at the Statehouse for votes would cost taxpayers over $1 million. Seriously? I’m pretty sure I am not the only one of Rep. Stapleton’s constituents who could come up with better ways to spend that amount.

Cindy Porter


Double standard
on Santos’ lies

If the lies of Republican Rep.-elect George Santos provided fodder for approximately 30 column-inches (including headers and a photograph) in the Dec. 31 Valley News, imagine how many could be conjured from the infinitely more numerous and consequential lies, fantasies and graft of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom were proffered by the Democrats as superior alternatives to the much-ballyhooed dishonesty of Donald Trump. I won’t hold my breath waiting for those grotesquely bloated issues to appear.

Their outrage over the Santos affair is just another instance of the Democrats’ inherent keenness to rally beneath the Double Standard.

Anthony Stimson


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Take poll results
with a helping of salt

Candidates know that polls influence citizens’ views and behavior. They are a quick way to gauge current political realities with data that are quantifiable and appear factual. They provide a snapshot of a moment.

In our highly charged political atmosphere, it’s not surprising that many polls are unreliable. In reporting potential results of the 2022 midterms, the polls flunked. A top Republican strategist referred to the virtual “bazaar of polls,” with skewed polls supported by hyperpartisan groups feeding into a narrative of a Republican wave election. An array of right-wing media outlets surfaced like Steve Bannon’s War Room and The Charlie Kirk Show. Coverage by mainstream news organizations, including The New York Times, sounded a potential Democratic doom.

Polling is a complex process. Response data are affected by: declining response rates with key groups of people not answering polls; Trump’s rantings about polls being “fake” or rigged; questions being too complex.

In dealing with polls, keep in mind the following: The biases of the polling organization; a single polling question rarely captures the complexity of voter views; transparency is associated with better accuracy. When you can, seek out the full results: the questions asked, methodology used, the number of respondents, the margin of error. Rely on averages of polls rather than any one poll in particular. Polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, Gallup, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, and the Kaiser Family Foundation are likely the most reliable. Be aware: the more you hear something, the easier it is to feel it’s true, regardless of its basis in fact. And keep in mind Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” rule.

Robert Hubbell urges us not to “stress out over polls during the next two years.” E.B. White reminds us that “although you can take a nation’s pulse, you can’t be sure that the nation hasn’t just run up a flight of stairs.”

Bob Scobie

West Lebanon