As goes Dixville Notch, so goes Millsfield

Curb your Dixville Notch enthusiasm.

This morning’s report that Dixville Notch, NH voted 15-6 for Obama represented the first time since at least 1960 — and maybe forever, that this hamlet has given its vote to the Democrat.  However, Dixville’s role as a NH bellweather  is complicated.

This link shows a graph of the percentage of the vote given to the Democratic candidates since 1960 in Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location (since 1996), and the state as a whole.  The correlation between the Dixville Notch returns and the statewide returns is a paltry .22.  If we confine ourselves to elections since 1980, nowever, the correlation rises to .80.  In the future, Hart’s location may end up being at least as good a canary in the Granite State’s coal mine, but it is, as they say, too soon to tell.

Taken together, Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location have come very close to matching the overall NH trend in the past two elections.  That’s why the 30% shift in a Democratic direction in these two towns is so eye-popping.  Chalk one up for a good Democratic year in NH.  Still, it’s hard to imagine Obama winning 80% of the NH vote, which is what a slavish attention to these early numbers would suggest.