PPP’s newest New Hampshire poll once again finds a one point race for the US Senate. Maggie Hassan has the slight advantage this month with 44% to 43% for Kelly Ayotte thanks to a slightly more unified party- 83% of Democrats support her to 81% of Republicans who support Ayotte. Despite the tightness we do find poll after poll that voters like Hassan (50/39 approval) better than they do Ayotte (40/42 approval). But a fair amount of the approval discrepancy owes to conservatives being suspicious of Ayotte- she has only a 45/44 approval with ‘very conservative’ voters- and that’s a bit of a moot point since those folks will still vote for Ayotte before they’ll vote for a Democrat whether they love her or not.
The consistently super tight polling in the New Hampshire Senate race is reminiscent of the early polling in 2 races in the 2012 cycle- the Virginia Senate contest between Tim Kaine and George Allen, and the Montana Senate contest between Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg. Those contests opened up a little more towards the end because it was a good year for Democrats, and it seems likely the national climate will end up determining who wins the New Hampshire race as well.
The Presidential numbers bode well for Hassan on that front. Hillary Clinton leads 8 out of 9 Republicans in hypothetical general election contests in the state. The exception is John Kasich- he achieves a tie with Clinton at 44%. Chris Christie comes close to Clinton as well, trailing 45/44. But beyond that Clinton leads the rest of the GOP throng by anywhere from 4 to 16 points. She’s up 4 on Jeb Bush (45/41) and Carly Fiorina (46/42), 6 on Ben Carson (48/42), Marco Rubio (48/42 also), and Donald Trump (47/41), 13 on Ted Cruz (50/37), and 16 on Mike Huckabee (51/35).
We also tested Bernie Sanders against the trio of Carson, Rubio, and Trump and he actually fares slightly better than she does against that group of candidates. Where Clinton leads them by an average of 6 points, Sanders’ average lead is 7 points. Sanders leads Trump 49/40, Carson 47/39, and Rubio 45/41.
Right now it looks like Democrats are ahead in New Hampshire by about 5 points, similar to Barack Obama’s margin of victory in the state in 2012. The Senate race is tight but if those Presidential numbers hold it’s hard to imagine a world where a popular Governor like Hassan runs 5 points or more behind the top of the ticket.
Full results here