Although the national political climate has worsened considerably for Democrats over the last four months, the state of the New Hampshire Senate race looks much the same as it did when PPP last polled in September. Jeanne Shaheen holds a small lead over Scott Brown (46/43) and then considerably wider advantages over the rest of the GOP field- 48/34 over Bob Smith, 49/33 over Jim Rubens, and 47/30 over Karen Testerman. Her leads over those four candidates were 4 points, 16, 17, and 19 respectively last time so the positive movement for Republicans has only been 1-2 points across the board.
That's good news for Shaheen given how unpopular Barack Obama has become in the state. Only 41% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 53% who disapprove, and with independents he's at a 33/58 spread. That's down a net 8 points from September when Obama was at 46/50. Voters are closely divided in their feelings about Shaheen, with 44% approving of her to 43% who disapprove. But that puts her in a better position than Brown who has a negative favorability rating with 34% of voters rating him positively to 40% with an unfavorable opinion.
Brown is the preferred candidate of New Hampshire Republicans for now, with 42% saying he'd be their choice to 11% each for Andy Martin and Bob Smith, 8% for Jim Rubens, and 7% for Karen Testerman. We also found potential signs of trouble for Brown ahead if he decides to get into the race though. 48% of primary voters say they'd be less likely to support a candidate who backs an assault weapons ban to only 22% more likely to. He could also face attacks from his GOP opponents on his residency (37% are less likely to support a candidate who moved to the state to run for office, 4% more likely) and position on abortion (34% are less likely to support a pro choice candidate, 20% more likely.)
Maggie Hassan continues to be in a very strong position for reelection as Governor. 52% of voters approve of the job she's doing to only 27% who disapprove, numbers that have improved from their already strong 51/33 position in September. Hassan leads all four Republicans we tested against her by at least 20 points- it's 51/31 against Bill Binnie, 50/27 against Chuck Morse, 50/26 against George Lambert, and 51/25 against Andrew Hemingway. Hassan gets at least 16% of the Republican vote while losing only 2% of the Democratic vote in each match up, and holds substantial leads with independents.
Other notes from New Hampshire:
-Kelly Ayotte cast a politically savvy vote by breaking with her party to support extending emergency unemployment benefits. 63% of voters in the state support that position to only 31% who think the benefits should be allowed to end. For the first time since her unpopular vote on background checks we find Ayotte with a positive approval rating at 42/38. That's largely because she's flipped her numbers from negative ground to positive with independents. Ayotte would lead a hypothetical match up with Hassan 46/40, suggesting that she's going to be a pretty tough out for Democrats in 2016.
-The next vote Ayotte might have to think about crossing party lines on is increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 60% of voters in the state support that to only 29% who are opposed. It has near unanimous support from Democrats (87%), more than 2:1 support with independents (57/28), and the favor of over a third of Republicans (36/53). Voting against that could erase any goodwill she's earned from her unemployment vote last week.
-58% of New Hampshire voters believe man made climate change is occurring to 30% who dissent. This is an issue where Democrats and independents are on the same page, and very much at odds with Republicans. Democrats (83/8) and independents (59/28) strongly believe in climate change, while GOP voters (28/56) do not. In fact a 43% plurality of New Hampshire Republicans think last week's polar vortex proves that global warming is a fraud, to just 33% who dissent from that view.
-Finally we find that gay marriage just keeps finding greater and greater acceptance in New Hampshire. 60% of voters in the state they support it to only 29% who are opposed, numbers that are up from 55/32 on our September poll. Voters under 30 in the state say they support it by a whooping 80/14 margin. Only 14% say gay marriage being legal in the state has had a negative impact on their lives while 20% say it's actually been positive, with 66% saying it's had no effect on them one way or the other.
This analysis is also available on our website:
I’m not attaching the full results because the file is so large, but you can see those here: