Oct 14, 2014 4:00 PM

NH1 Poll - Oct. 14, 2014: Shaheen-Brown battle remains knotted up

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - With three 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 is all tied up.

And according to the survey, which was released Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's lead over Republican nominee Walt Havenstein is down to five percentage points. 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, the survey suggests that Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster's double digit lead over GOP state Rep. Marilinda Garcia has disappeared.

"Three of the four races - the Senate race, and the First and Second Congressional District races - are too close to call within this poll's margin of error. Only Governor Hassan has a lead outside of the margin of error, and that lead has shrunk when compared to last week's poll," said Wayne Lesperance, Professor of Political Science at New England College.

Senate race tied up

The automated telephone poll indicates that Shaheen, a former three-term New Hampshire governor who's running for a second term in the Senate, at 47% among likely Granite State voters. Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts who late last year moved to New Hampshire, where he long roots, is at 48%. Five percent said they were undecided or backing another candidate.

Brown's one-point margin is well within the survey's sampling error. Last week Shaheen held a slight 49%-46% edge over Brown.

According to the survey, Shaheen has a nine point lead among women, the same as last week. Meanwhile Brown has a 13 point advantage among male voters, up from a four point edge last week. Brown has a slight edge with independent voters. Last week Shaheen had the edge.

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.

Havenstein making gains

In the gubernatorial contest, Hassan, a former state senator who was first elected governor in 2012, is at 49% among likely voters. Havenstein, a former Marine and former chief operating officer of Nashua based defense contractor BAE Systems, is at 44%. Eight percent were unsure or were backing other candidates.

Hassan's five point lead is down from ten points last week.Hassan continues to have a double digit lead among women and but has lost her edge among men. Havenstein now has a slight advantage among male voters.

Swings in congressional races

The battle between Shea-Porter and Guinta has seen some wild swings. Two weeks ago Guinta led by 10 points. Last week Shea-Porter held a slight 47%-44% edge. In the new survey, Guinta has a 46%-44% edge, which is within the poll's sampling error.

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's double digit lead has disappeared. She was ahead of Garcia 50%-38% last week. Now she has a 46%-43% edge.

"Looking inside the numbers, Representative Kuster's strength remains in her 9% lead among women. Garcia leads among men by 2.6%," added Lesperance, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement which includes the New England College Polling Institute.

The NH1 Poll by New England College was conducted October 9, with 1,081 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 three percentage points.

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