-There are a million New Hampshire Republican primary polls out there right now so when we polled the state earlier this month we decided we may as well ask about the 2016 Democratic race too. The answer is not surprising: if Hillary Clinton decided to make another run at the White House she would start out as an overwhelming favorite. 52% of primary voters said she'd be their choice from the options we gave, followed by Joe Biden at 16%. No one else registered in double digits- Andrew Cuomo at 9%, Russ Feingold at 3%, Deval Patrick at 2%, Cory Booker at 1%, and Brian Schweitzer and Mark Warner each at 0%.
Those numbers largely reinforce what we found when we asked about a similar pool of candidates in Iowa in April. There 44% picked Clinton to 13% for Biden, and again no one else in double digits. If nothing changes over the next few years- and goodness knows it could- Clinton's going to be way out in front to start if she decides to make the race.
Since it seems quite likely neither Clinton nor Biden will actually run we also asked a version of the question in New Hampshire without them. In that permutation Cuomo leads the way with 30% to 18% for Feingold, 13% for Patrick, 2% each for Booker and Warner, and 1% for Schweitzer. That may be an indication that Cuomo's work in his first 6 months as Governor really has made national waves. Or it could also just be an indication that he has a famous family name.
-New Hampshire Republicans made enormous gains in the Legislature last year. Now voters appear ready to go back in the other direction in 2012. Democrats lead the generic ballot in the state by a 48-45 margin. That actually represents progress for the Republicans, who trailed by 49-41 on that count when PPP last polled the state in April. But that spread would still result in a huge number of seats- and quite possibly the majority- moving back to the Democrats. The key to the party's improvement relative to last year? It leads 42-41 with independent voters- that's a modest advantage but it's a far cry from the huge margins the GOP was winning those voters by last year.
-New Hampshire is one state where there's an outright majority in favor of gay marriage. 51% of voters in the state think it should be legal to only 38% who think it should be outlawed. Two thirds of voters under 30 support it but what might be most remarkable is that even seniors do by a 45/44 margin. That's quite a different story than we see in most states.
If you extend the question to asking about both gay marriage and civil unions 80% of voters in the state support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples with 45% saying that full marriage rights is their top choice and the other 35% preferring civil unions. Only 19% oppose all recognition.
Even among Republicans in New Hampshire 67% support legal recognition for gay couples. They largely prefer civil unions- 50% of GOP voters- with 17% in favor of marriage. These numbers suggest that gay bashing is not likely to be a winner for Republican Presidential candidates in New Hampshire next year.
-The state's 2 Senators have very similar and pretty solid numbers. Neither is overwhelmingly popular but they're both on positive ground and that's not a bad place for an elected official to be these days. Kelly Ayotte's approval is a +6 spread at 44/38 and Jeanne Shaheen's breaks down at +5 at 47/42.
This analysis is also available on our blog: