Gun show background checks are pretty universally popular in New Hampshire...and Kelly Ayotte is facing some serious backlash from voters in the state for voting against them last week.
Ayotte now has a negative approval rating with 44% of voters giving her good marks and 46% disapproving. That's down a net 15 points from the last time we polled on her, in October, when she had a 48% approval with 35% disapproving. 75% of New Hampshire voters- including 95% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 56% of Republicans- say they support background checks. And 50% of voters in the state say Ayotte's 'no' vote will make them less likely to support her in a future election, compared to just 23% who consider it to be a positive.
Ayotte won her seat in 2010 by 23 points. But in a very early hypothetical match up between her and new Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, she trails by a 46/44 margin. This issue is really giving her some trouble.
Speaking of Hassan, she's off to a good start in her first term as Governor. 50% of voters approve of her to only 31% who disapprove, including a 47/29 spread with independents. She holds leads ranging from 14 to 20 points over five potential Republican foes for reelection that we tested against her.
Former Congressman Jeb Bradley does the best but still trails by 14 points at 52/38. He is followed by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Sununu family member Chris Sununu who trail by 16 points each at 51/35 and 53/37 respectively, former Congressman Frank Guinta who trails by 18 at 54/36, and 2012 primary runner up Kevin Smith who has a 20 point deficit at 52/32. Hassan holds a double digit lead among independents and pulls double digit support from Republican voters in each match up.
A few other notes from New Hampshire:
-Gay marriage has been legal for a little bit more than three years in the state now, and it is quite popular with 56% of voters supporting it to 34% who are opposed. When we asked voters how they felt about it in July of 2011 support ran 51/38, so there's been a net 9 point increase over the last couple years.
One reason for the increase in support might be that voters have found gay marriage isn't such a big deal- just 16% say its being legal has had a negative impact on their lives, and even among voters opposed to it 58% grant that it hasn't actually had any adverse effect on them.
Full results here