In a six-day period, seven different pollsters surveyed the New Hampshire electorate, thus providing us a well-researched picture of the state’s political position concerning the increasingly competitive US Senate contest between incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Two other pollsters looked at the state’s pair of congressional campaigns.
With seven independent polls in the field almost simultaneously between Sept. 10-15, it appears that Sen. Shaheen holds a clear advantage over Brown. Shaheen’s strongest survey is the last one conducted, a New England College Granite State Poll (Sept. 10-11; 630 registered New Hampshire voters) that posts the incumbent to an 11-point, 51-40 percent advantage.
Though the political party division is virtually even, the poll appears to skew a bit left. President Obama’s job approval, according to the NEC data, is 48:48 percent positive to negative. Two of the other pollsters who asked the same question at the same time (Magellan Strategies and CNN/ORC), found much worse numbers that are more consistent with national reports. Magellan rates the president 33:57 percent, while CNN posts him to an even worse 35:60 percent negative opinion of his performance in office.
The other half-dozen pollsters (American Research Group, Global Strategy Group, Kiley & Company, Rasmussen Reports, and the aforementioned CNN/ORC and Magellan Strategies) also released numbers. Four of these six give Shaheen the advantage. Only Magellan projects Brown to a small lead, 46-44 percent. CNN sees a 48-48 percent dead heat. The remaining pollsters have Shaheen leading in numerical sequence, with New Hampshire-based American Research Group finding a five-point race, Rasmussen Reports recording six, Global Strategy Group seeing seven, and Kiley & Company polling for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee posting an eight-point Shaheen margin.
This plethora of recent polling tells us that Sen. Shaheen is leading ex-Sen. Brown and would very likely win the election if voting were today. Since it is still seven weeks away, these same polls tell us that the traditionally volatile New Hampshire electorate could still swing Brown’s way. Therefore, the possibility that the campaign ends in upset territory cannot yet be ruled out.
Two pollsters, New England College and Normington Petts for the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, surveyed both congressional districts within this same time frame.
The Granite State’s eastern district is one of the most marginal seats in the country. The 2014 campaign features the third go-round between Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester) and former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-Manchester). Previously, each individual had won one race. Since 2006, inclusive, the 1st District has defeated three incumbents while re-electing only one, Shea-Porter in 2008.
Here, New England College, finding 607 automated responders, again with a slight Democratic skew, gives Rep. Shea-Porter a 46-42 percent advantage over former Congressman Guinta. But, Normington Petts, which surveyed 800 registered voters (statewide, but not specifically disclosing the sampling universe size by congressional district) with a 29-25-47 percent, D-R-I partisan split, finds a slightly closer contest. This data gives the congresswoman an even tighter 45-43 percent edge. Both results again forecast that the contest could again go either way.
New Hampshire’s western district is the more Democratic of the state’s two CDs, therefore freshman Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Concord) should be in better shape than her colleague, Shea-Porter. And, she is – slightly, at the very least.
New England College actually gives the congresswoman a substantial lead, 50-37 percent, but again we must account for a slight Democratic skew. Normington Petts finds challenger Marilinda Garcia, a state representative, pulling much closer. This poll suggests that Rep. Kuster’s margin is only 44-38 percent, detecting a very different result than what we see from the NEC.
Typically, professional commercial pollsters such as Normington Petts tend to provide more accurate data than what is commonly published from universities. Such is probable in this case, too. The NP numbers, especially when overlaying New Hampshire voter history and tendency figures, are likely correct in predicting that the two congressional campaigns are likely close and getting even tighter.