NRSC - NEW POLL: Ayotte 50%, Hodes 35%

Poll Shows Ayotte With Sizable Lead Over Hodes

Ayotte Increases Lead Since Primary Win


September 30, 2010

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Less than five weeks from Election Day, a new poll shows Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes may have a tough hill to climb in his Senate bid.

The WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire shows Republican Kelly Ayotte leading Hodes 50 percent to 35 percent. While Ayotte has consistently led Hodes in the poll, she has stretched her lead since the primary.

"In the U.S. Senate race, it seems that Ayotte's primary really helped her quite a bit," said UNH Pollster Andy Smith.

The poll of 515 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted by telephone from Sept. 23 to Sept. 29. It has a margin of sampling error of 4.3 percent.

In July, a Granite State Poll showed Ayotte with an 8-point lead.

"Ayotte's doing a better job of holding her own partisans than Hodes is," Smith said. "Ayotte's getting 87 percent of Republicans, while Hodes is only getting 70 percent of Democrats. So, Hodes has to do a better job of building enthusiasm and keeping his own people close, because Ayotte is cutting into that."

In terms of favorability, Ayotte also holds a sizable edge, with 41 percent holding a favorable opinion of her and 29 percent unfavorable. The polls shows 29 percent see Hodes in a favorable light, while 39 percent have an unfavorable view of him.

The rest are neutral or don't know enough about the candidates to decide.

Smith said that despite the numbers, there is still a large pool of voters who haven't made up their minds.

"Still only 37 percent of voters say they have made up their minds who they are going to vote for, and 15 percent say they are leaning toward somebody," Smith said. "But still, 48 percent say they haven't decided who they are going to vote for. It's still pretty early in the campaign, although it is almost October."

Hodes and Ayotte will meet at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 for a debate airing on WMUR-Channel 9 and