Democrat Hillary Clinton (44 percent) leads Republican Donald Trump (42 percent) in a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of New Hampshire voters. The 2-point margin represents a toss-up, as the results are within the poll’s statistical margin of error.
“There are just two sets of persuadable voters remaining in New Hampshire’s presidential contest: undecided voters and voters for third-party candidates,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Each group polls in the mid-to-high single digits, but voters abandoning the major parties to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson could determine the outcome in New Hampshire.”
The poll showed 5 percent of voters supporting Johnson and 1 percent Green Party nominee Jill Stein, with 7 percent undecided. Also on the New Hampshire ballot is Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of the American Delta Party, but he did not receive any support in the poll.
Gender and gun-owner preferences
Among women, Clinton led Trump 51 percent to Trump’s 35 percent, with Johnson receiving 6 percent. In contrast, men preferred Trump 49 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent, while Johnson received 5 percent.
Among gun-owner households in New Hampshire, Trump led 53 percent to 33 percent, with Johnson at 4 percent. Non-gun-owner households preferred Clinton 54 percent to Trump’s 32 percent, with Johnson at 6 percent.
“The demographics of gender and gun ownership are inversely parallel,” said Paleologos.
Nearly 6 in 10 likely New Hampshire voters said neither Clinton nor Trump were honest and trustworthy. In terms of personal popularity, Trump fared worse, with a 57 percent unfavorable - 36 favorable rating, compared to Clinton’s 49 percent unfavorable - 43 percent favorable.
According to the latest voter registration statistics in New Hampshire, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats 32 percent to 29 percent, while 39 percent are “undeclared” or independent voters.
U.S. Senate race
In the race for the U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire, Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte (47 percent) leads Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, (41 percent), Libertarian Brian Chabot (3 percent) and independent Aaron Day (1 percent), with 6 percent undecided.
“Here you also have two well-known candidates and a low undecided,” said Paleologos. “However, Hassan’s unfavorable rating is almost equal to her favorable rating which is a significant change from her past popularity ratings.”
Both Ayotte and Hassan have seen their popularities decline since a Suffolk University New Hampshire poll looked at their favorability ratings in October 2014. Ayotte stood at 54 percent favorable to 31 percent unfavorable two years ago, while today 48 percent of voters view her favorably and 33 percent do not. However, Hassan’s popularity has dropped even more, from 50 percent favorable - 33 percent unfavorable two years ago to 42 percent favorable - 40 percent unfavorable today.
In the race for governor, Republican Chris Sununu (40 percent) leads Democrat Colin Van Ostern (36 percent), with 20 percent undecided.
“The undecided voters are the biggest factor in the governor’s race,” said Paleologos. “Sununu bears a familiar family name in NH politics. Yet even with the advantage of name recognition, and with half of the voters unfamiliar with Van Ostern, this race is a statistical dead heat.”
Among those voters who have heard of both candidates, the race is tied at 40 percent.
History of Suffolk research in New Hampshire
In the 2014 New Hampshire general election, the final Suffolk University poll predicted a 3-point win for Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen over Republican Scott Brown; Shaheen won by 3 percent.
The statewide survey of 500 likely general election voters was conducted October 3-5, 2016, using live telephone interviews and a split sample of landline and cell phone numbers. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.