Scott Brown’s path to victory is simple: consolidate the Republican base and split the independent vote. If he can do that, Scott Brown will become the next senator from the state of New Hampshire. Republicans constitute 30 percent of the Granite State electorate, while independents make up 43 percent.
In a very real sense, the race against Jeanne Shaheen doesn’t begin until after the primary when the process of unifying the party can begin. This basic math is not lost on Senator Shaheen. She is running a television ad right now appealing for support from Republicans. Shaheen’s strategy is to peel off Republican votes, thus denying Brown a victory. Polling shows Brown currently losing one quarter of the Republican vote in a head-to-head match-up with Shaheen. This is a reflection of the divided Republican primary, but she cannot count on that support once the primary is over.
Recently, our campaign has begun reaching out to Republicans of all stripes for their endorsements and support. Two of the most notable are Senator Kelly Ayotte and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both of whom are unifying figures in the party. But this process will not begin in earnest until the general election campaign begins.
If recent history is any indicator, Brown will carry the groups he needs to win the election. In 2012, against Elizabeth Warren, Brown took 95 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents in Massachusetts.
Brown also has a history of attracting crossover votes from Democrats. In that 2012 race against Warren, Brown won 11 percent of Democrats. If Brown does what he did against Elizabeth Warren, he will achieve a convincing victory over Jeanne Shaheen.
This math is also not lost on the outside, third-party groups backing her candidacy. Harry Reid’s Super PAC has already spent close to a million dollars in attack ads versus Brown, while Shaheen’s allies at the League Of Conservation voters just this week launched a new attack ads against Brown that are designed to give Shaheen cover on her support for more gas taxes.
Polls are not very determinative at this stage of the race. In 2009, early surveys had Brown trailing by 41 points against Martha Coakley. In fact, a poll by the UNH Survey Center showed him down 15 percent just 10 days before he won that election by five points.
In 2014, the Senate race in New Hampshire won’t really begin until the day after the September 9 primary. That’s when Republicans across the state will rally behind their nominee to defeat Jeanne Shaheen. Because Shaheen votes with Obama 99 percent of the time, it will be the last chance voters have to pass judgment on the Obama-Shaheen agenda, which has been bad for New Hampshire and bad for America.