DURHAM — The bottom line in a possible U.S. Senate match-up between Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Scott Brown is that, so far in the campaign at least, Shaheen is still popular in New Hampshire. Brown: not so much.
Shaheen holds a 50 to 38 percent lead over the former Massachusetts senator in the latest WMUR Granite State poll conducted by the UNH Survey Center. The poll makes it clear that months of pounding by the Brown campaign and the state Republican Party has failed to put a dent in her appeal.
For the full poll results click here.
Shaheen is viewed favorably by 57 percent of the 669 adults polled between June 19 and July 1 and unfavorably by 29 percent. In April, she was viewed favorably by 49 percent of those polled. (The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent).
Brown, on the other hand, is “under water” with 31 percent of those polled viewing him favorably, and 40 percent unfavorably. Those numbers are consistent with UNH polling in April and January.
Also significant is the disparity in how popular each is with his and her base.
In the head-to-head matchup, Shaheen is supported by 89 percent her fellow Democrats with 5 percent backing Brown.
Brown, who is in a potentially divisive primary with former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens, is backed by 73 percent of his fellow Republicans, while 15 percent of Republicans prefer Shaheen.
Brown leads among independents, 42 to 34 percent, but Shaheen leads among self-described moderates 55 to 28 percent.
Brown fares better against Shaheen than either of his GOP primary competitors.
Shaheen leads Smith, 57 to 34 percent, and she leads Rubens, 56 to 30 percent.
Smith, despite his service as a three-term House member and a two-term Senator, is not well enough known among 55 percent of those polled for them to provide an opinion of him. And 77 percent of those polled said they did not know enough about Rubens to say whether they view him favorably or unfavorably.
Brown’s campaign, knowing the polling numbers shortly before they were released, put out a memo to “interested parties” to try to explain his showing. In the memo, campaign manager Colin Reed wrote that the “path to victory” for Brown is to “consolidate the Republican base and split the independent vote.”
The New Hampshire Journal has been told that the UNH poll numbers are similar to the Brown campaign’s internal numbers.
“Polling shows Brown currently losing one quarter of the Republican vote in a head-to-head match-up with Shaheen,” Reed wrote before the numbers were made public. “This is a reflection of the divided Republican primary, but (Shaheen) cannot count on that support once the primary is over.
“Recently, our campaign has begun reaching out to Republicans of all stripes for their endorsements and support. Two of the most notable are Senator Kelly Ayotte and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both of whom are unifying figures in the party. But this process will not begin in earnest until the general election campaign begins.
“In a very real sense, the race against Jeanne Shaheen doesn’t begin until after the primary when the process of unifying the party can begin,” wrote Reed.
For Reed’s full memo, click here.
But Shaheen campaign manager Michael Vlacich said, “This poll shows what Granite Staters know: Jeanne Shaheen puts New Hampshire first and her common sense leadership makes a difference for people here. She’s got deep roots in New Hampshire, raised her family here and her record proves she shares our values.
“The Big Oil Koch Brothers are desperate to get Scott Brown back into the Senate to protect their interests, not New Hampshire’s,” said Vlacich. “But what they are finding out is that New Hampshire is not for sale. We are committed to running the type of grassroots people-powered campaign that New Hampshire deserves, and correcting every one of Big Oil’s dishonest attacks.”
For the Shaheen campaign’s full statement, click here.
The poll also measured Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s popularity, and she fared well.
The Republican was viewed favorably by 50 percent of those polled and unfavorably by 25 percent. She is up for reelection in 2016.