Oct 8, 2014 5:54 PM

New NH1 Poll: Shaheen-Brown battle remains virtually tied up

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - With just under four weeks to go until Election Day, a new NH1 poll by New England College indicates that New Hampshire's crucial U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and GOP challenger Scott Brown remains knotted up.

And according to the survey, which was released Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan holds a double digit lead over Republican nominee Walt Havenstein. The poll also indicates a close contest in the first congressional district three-peat battle between Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and former congressman Frank Guinta, the Republican challenger. In the 2nd congressional district, Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster maintains a double digit lead over GOP state Rep. Marilinda Garcia.

The automated telephone poll has Shaheen, a former three-term New Hampshire governor who's running for a second term in the Senate, at 49 percent among likely Granite State voters. Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts who late last year moved to New Hampshire, where he has roots, is at 46 percent. Just over five percent said they were undecided or backing another candidate. In last week's NH1/New England College survey, the two candidates were deadlocked.

According to the survey, Shaheen has a nine-point lead among women while Brown has a four-point advantage among male voters. Shaheen has the advantage among independent voters and is slightly stronger among Democrats than Brown is among Republicans.

The Shaheen-Brown showdown is one of 12 Senate contests nationwide that could determine whether the Democrats retain control of the chamber following the Midterm elections. Democrats currently control the Senate 55-45 (43 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs next month. And half of the seats they are defending are in red or purple states like New Hampshire.

Hassan holds double-digit lead

In the gubernatorial contest, Hassan, a former state senator who was first elected governor in 2012, is at 51 percent among likely voters. Havenstein, a former Marine and former chief operating officer of Nashua-based defense contractor BAE Systems, is at 41 percent. Hassan's ten-percentage point lead is up from a four point advantage last week.

Hassan has a double-digit lead among women and the slight edge among men. And she has much stronger support among Democrats that Havenstein has among Republicans.

"Governor Hassan's lead over Walt Havenstein includes support from 16 percent of self-identified Republicans," said Wayne Lesperance, Professor of Political Science at New England College. "Conversely, Havenstein is garnering only 5.4 percent support from self-identified Democrats. The path to victory for Havenstein remains a difficult one, especially when a significant portion of his own party is supporting his opponent."

Wild swing in 1st CD

The battle between Shea-Porter and Guinta has seen some wild swings. Last week Guinta led by 10 points. In the new poll, Shea-Porter holds a slight 47%-44% edge.

"This race has been a rollercoaster since the primaries," added Lesperance, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement which includes the New England College Polling Institute. "While Guinta led in last week's poll, in this particular cycle there have been an extraordinary number of negative ads. This may have had an impact. The race is a virtual tie with less than a month to go."

This is the third straight election the two have faced off. Guinta knocked Shea-Porter out of Congress in the 2010 election. She returned the favor in 2012.

In the 2nd Congressional District, the poll indicates Kuster retaining a double digit lead. She is ahead of Garcia 50 percent to 38 in the new survey.

The poll also asked about U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). According to the poll, nearly nine in ten Granite States approve of airstrikes against the terrorist group Iraq and Syria. But only 43 percent support sending U.S. ground troops into either country to combat ISIS.

The NH1 Poll by New England College was conducted October 3, with 1,286 likely voters in New Hampshire questioned by telephone. The survey was conducted using Interactive Voice Response technology, an automated polling system. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.


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