With Election Day looming—and with tens of millions of voters nationwide having already cast ballots—midterm bellwether polls in New Hampshire and Arizona give Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan a slight edge over Republican Don Bolduc in the Granite State, and show a dead heat in Arizona between Democratic Senator Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters.
The short surveys of bellwether areas—in states where pivotal Senate races could affect the national balance of power in Congress—were conducted by Suffolk University November 3-6. Each survey is within the margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points.
In the town of Barrington, New Hampshire, Hassan leads 49% to 45%, while in Manchester she leads 50% to 42%, though Manchester consistently skews three to four points higher toward the Democratic candidate compared to the New Hampshire statewide vote.
“If Hassan wins Manchester by eight points, the model tells us that she will have a much closer four-point lead statewide,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center and designer of this bellwether poll.
“If Hassan only wins Manchester by two points or less, she probably loses to Bolduc statewide,” he said. “As far as Barrington goes, it has been spot-on in New Hampshire midterms mirroring the statewide vote.”
In both communities, Hassan’s strength among independent women appears to be preventing a complete independent wave against her. In Barrington, independent men supported Republican Don Bolduc 55%-33%, while independent women were voting for Hassan 63%-21%. In Manchester, independent women chose Hassan 58%-27%, more than offsetting Bolduc’s advantage among independent men 55%-36%.
In Maricopa County, Arizona, the pivotal Senate race is a tossup with Democrat Mark Kelly at slightly less than 48%, Republican Blake Masters at 47%, and Libertarian Mark Victor at 1%. Maricopa County early voting has so far strongly favored Senator Kelly (57%-36%), with those almost certain to vote on Tuesday breaking for Masters (60%-37%).
In the race for Arizona governor, Maricopa is breaking slightly to Republican Kari Lake over Democrat Katie Hobbs 47%-46% overall, well within the margin of error.
Bellwether polls and historical accuracy
Bellwethers are designed to predict winners, not margins of victory, and have often been historically accurate in predicting outcomes. In the past midterm elections where there was a contested Senate and governor’s race, Barrington and Maricopa County not only predicted the correct statewide winners of the Senate races, but their results were amazingly close to the actual statewide vote.
In 2020, Barrington voted for Joe Biden 52%-46%, closely mirroring his actual statewide performance in New Hampshire of 53%-46%. In Maricopa, Biden won 51%-48%, which was also close to his Arizona statewide showing of 49%-49%. In 2020, Kelly won Maricopa, 51%-47%, which was quite close to his statewide totals of 50%-48%.
“We’ll be watching the results of those areas tomorrow night to see if they give us an accurate indication of who will ultimately win statewide. If these bellwethers disagree with the statewide winner, they will be eliminated from the model in 2026,” Paleologos said.
Suffolk University interviewed 300 likely midterm voters from Maricopa County, as well as 300 Barrington and 300 Manchester voters. The field was conducted November 3-6 and is based on live telephone interviews, including both cell (88 percent) and landlines (12 percent). Each area’s quota and demographic information—including geography, gender, party registration, and age—were determined from the 2020 Census, American Community Survey, and exit polling from like elections. All respondents indicated they were almost certain to vote or had already voted in the midterm election. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/- 5.7 percentage points. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].