Former Sen. Scott Brown has not yet declared his intentions after moving to New Hampshire, but a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of likely New Hampshire voters shows him trailing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who leads five possible Republican challengers for the U.S. Senate. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan also shows an even larger lead against her Republican challengers.
Shaheen’s closest challenger was Brown, who trailed her 52-39 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The former senator from Massachusetts, who has been the target of a negative TV ad campaign, had a 33 percent favorable rating and a 42 percent unfavorable rating. Even GOP voters are contributing to his unfavorable rating, including 19 percent of registered Republicans and 43 percent of those who are voting for one of his four potential Republican primary opponents -- Andy Martin, Jim Rubens, Bob Smith and Karen Testerman.
In the governor’s race, Hassan was the choice of between 53 and 56 percent of voters in one-on-one matchups against five possible Republican challengers, including Bill Binnie, Ted Gatsas, Andrew Hemingway, George Lambert and Chuck Morse, none of whom reached 29 percent. The closest opponent was Gatsas (28 percent against Hassan’s 53 percent, with 19 percent undecided).
The New Hampshire primary is Sept. 9, and the final election for statewide and congressional offices is Nov. 4, 2014. Candidates may wait until June to declare their intentions, according to the state’s filing requirements.
President’s approval ratings
President Barack Obama, a 5-point winner in the Granite State in 2012, has fallen out of favor in both personal popularity (46 percent favorable – 48 percent unfavorable) and job performance (40 percent approve – 51 percent disapprove, with 9 percent undecided).
“Democrats Hassan and Shaheen are earning higher voter support than President Obama,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “The poll tells us that 29 percent of voters favorable to Hassan disapprove of the president’s job performance.”
Affordable Care Act
One of the issues dragging down the president’s ratings is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire. Thirty-seven percent of likely voters said that Obamacare is generally good for New Hampshire, while 52 percent said it is generally bad, with 11 percent undecided.
State of the Economy
Thirty-one percent of likely voters said they feel that the New Hampshire economy has improved. More than 40 percent said that it has stayed the same, and 26 percent said it has gotten worse.
“The lagging implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the economy in general are weighing down the president’s approval rating and minimizing his ability to help Democratic candidates, especially if these races get closer.”
2016 GOP Sweepstakes Wide Open
While the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is dominated by Hillary Clinton in all polls, the Republican presidential sweepstakes is wide open in New Hampshire. Rand Paul and Chris Christie were tied at 12 percent, followed closely by Jeb Bush (9 percent), Paul Ryan (9 percent), Jon Huntsman (8 percent), Scott Walker (7 percent) and Marco Rubio (6 percent). Five other candidates were at 5 percent or below, and 14 percent of voters were undecided.
The statewide Suffolk University survey used a split sample of landline and cell phone numbers and a screen to filter out low voter intensity. The field of 800 likely voters was conducted Thursday, Feb. 27, through Wednesday, March 5. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The subset of 426 likely Republican primary voters carries an error rate of +/-4.8 percent.