National Republicans are urging former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown to run for the Senate in New Hampshire. Brown has not declared his candidacy, but all indications are he is seriously considering the idea of running against incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. "I don’t think Scott Brown is just fooling around," said Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Entries in US Senate (7)
Firm linked to Hodes pays NH fine for push polling
WMUR Political Scoop
By James Pindell
October 15, 2010, 2:25 PM
An out of state firm which may have conducted polling for Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Paul Hodes’s campaign has agreed to pay $20,000 to New Hampshire in a settlement agreement over allegations they were involved in push polling.
The Attorney General’s office announced the settlement this afternoon that Mountain West Research Center of Pocatello, Idaho had agreed to pay a fine and cooperated with the investigation after those polled complained that the pollster didn’t disclose who was paying for the poll even though they were saying negative things about Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte. After questions were raised the poll stopped.
When a reporter asked Mountain West who they were polling for they said Anzalone Liszt Research. Anzalone Liszt Research, at the time, listed Hodes as a client. The Hodes campaign didn’t deny that it was their poll and said they wouldn’t discuss it.
Kelly Ayotte will begin the general election in New Hampshire with a small lead over Paul Hodes, 47-43. Although she remains the favorite in the race it's clear that the divisive primary has her in a much weaker position than 5 months ago and that this contest may be more competitive than has generally been accepted.
When PPP first polled New Hampshire in April Ayotte had a 34/24 favorability rating. The number of voters with a positive opinion of her now is basically the same as it was then at 35%. But her negatives have nearly doubled from 24% to 47%. What were once good numbers with independents at 35/23 have now gone sour to 34/44. And while earlier in the year she had an unusual level of popularity across party lines at 20% that's now declined to 11%.
The competitiveness of her primary forced Ayotte to do things she might have been able to get away with skipping if she'd had an easier path to the nomination. For instance her Sarah Palin endorsement proved critical in surviving with a small victory last night, but 52% of general election voters say Palin's support is a turn off with only 18% of them saying it's a positive. Her having to move to the right in the primary has already hurt her overall image with New Hampshire voters and could prove to become even more of a liability in the general election.
The good news for Ayotte is that Hodes isn't particularly popular either. His favorability numbers are nearly identical to hers with 35% of voters seeing him positively to 46% with a negative opinion.
Looking at their head to head match up both candidates pretty much have their party base locked up and Ayotte's breaking the tie with a strong advantage among independents. Hodes is getting 85% of Democrats while Ayotte's getting 83% of Republicans. She's up 51-37 with those independents.
Although many Democrats were rooting for Ovide Lamontagne to win the nomination, perceiving him as the weaker general election candidate, this poll found there was little difference between him and Ayotte against Hodes. Lamontagne would have started out with a 47-44 lead. 36% of voters had a favorable opinion of him by the end of his campaign to 33% with an unfavorable one, giving him basically the same level of goodwill as Ayotte with much lower negatives. All in all it was probably a wash for the general election who emerged from this primary.
One final note: New Hampshire is one state where Democrats are having to cope with a considerable enthusiasm gap. Barack Obama won New Hampshire by 9 points but those planning to vote this fall report having split their voters evenly in 2008, an indication that Republican voters are planning to come back out at a much higher rate than Democrats. If the 2010 electorate matched who turned out in 2008 we find Hodes would lead Ayotte 48-43. If Hodes can get the Democratic base better motivated in these final seven weeks it's going to be a very close race.
This analysis is also available on our blog:
Kelly Ayotte’s had a quite a dramatic fall from PPP’s last poll of the New Hampshire Republican primary for Senate, when she led Ovide Lamontagne by 39 points. But Lamontagne may have run out of time to catch up. Ayotte leads with 37% to 30% for Lamontagne, 13% for Bill Binnie, and 12% for Jim Bender.
If Ayotte survives where many GOP establishment candidates have failed in Senate primaries this year it will be because she managed to be the Tea Party candidate herself. With the third of Republican primary voters who describe themselves as members of that movement she leads Lamontagne 38-37, a contrast to the wallopings folks like Trey Grayson, Sue Lowden, Lisa Murkowski, and likely Mike Castle have received with that group.
Ayotte builds on her running even with the Tea Party folks with a 39-17 lead over Lamontagne with moderate voters. Binnie actually finishes second with that group at 19%.
Although Binnie is best case scenario going to finish a distant third his numbers in this poll say a lot about where the Republican Party is headed. Generally viewed as the moderate candidate in the race, 55% of GOP primary voters have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 26% who see him favorably. That is telling when it comes to the ability of centrists to make their way in Republican primaries this year.
Lamontagne actually has the best net favorability of the candidates at +40 (56/16), followed by Ayotte at +29 (56/27), and Bender at +23 (42/19).
Lamontagne is effectively tapping into voters who think the GOP is too liberal, leading Ayotte 48-28 with that group. But those folks only account for 30% of the primary electorate and with the 48% who think the party’s ideologically fine she leads 45-28.
Unlike Delaware it may not matter from a general election standpoint who the Republicans nominate in New Hampshire. Numbers we'll release later this week show Ayotte and Lamontagne performing basically the same against Paul Hodes.
This analysis is also available on our blog:
NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATORIAL DEBATE
Four Candidates to debate in Goffstown, NH
NH Politics with John Burt, a Public access TV show produced at Goffstown Community Television, is hosting a U.S. Republican Senatorial debate. The debate will be held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, NH on May 1st 2010. The four Republican U.S. Senatorial candidates debating will be Bill Binnie, Kelley Ayotte, Jim Bender, and Ovide Lamontagne.
Special Guest Nicole Houde, Miss New Hampshire USA 2010, will be in attendance and will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Nicole will be flying out to Las Vegas on May 3rd to represent NH in the Miss USA Pageant being aired on May 16th.
The doors will open at 2pm for ticketed guests only. The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College auditorium seats up to 200 guests. The event will start promptly at 3pm with the host of the debate John Burt, NH Politics with John Burt introducing the candidates before handing over the debate to the moderator, Charlie Sherman of WGIR 610AM radio in Manchester, NH.
The debate will be aired live on the internet at www.pegondemand.tv. Members of the media are welcome with prior approval.
NH Politics with John Burt is dedicated to discussing the issues affecting you and our state.