John Lynch is certainly going to face his toughest contest for reelection since first being elected Governor in New Hampshire, but he still starts out the general election with a solid 51-39 lead over Republican challenger John Stephen.
Lynch was dominant in his 2006 and 2008 wins, receiving large amounts of Republican support and crushing his opponents with independents. Neither of those things will happen this year. Stephen has the GOP base pretty much locked up, 74-13. And Lynch's edge with independents has been reduced to 46-41. Still Lynch wins Democrats 93-4, a larger degree of party unification than we've seen for any candidate in the country this year, and that's more than enough to fuel a double digit lead.
Lynch has a 51% approval rating, making him one of a very small group of Governors and Senators PPP has polled this year who have retained majority support from their constituents. A plurality of voters at 39% still don't know enough about Stephen to have formed an opinion. Among those who have views are pretty evenly divided with 31% seeing him favorably and 30% unfavorably.
In a political year that has produced one surprise after another after another it would be a mistake to completely write off the possibility of an upset. But Lynch's popularity is holding up much better than that of most politicians and if that continues to be true for another 7 weeks he should make it through.
This analysis is also available on our blog: