For the third straight week, New England College’s poll of the U.S. Senate race shows a race too close to call – but for the first time, Republican Scott Brown leads Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, if only by just more than a single percentage point.
Still, that’s within the 2.98 percent margin of error, making it another dead heat.
Brown’s 48 to 46.9 percent lead was the top talking point of the poll released Tuesday evening, but the weekly survey also showed other top races right.
Gov. Maggie Hassan now leads Republican Walt Havenstein 48.7 to 43.5 percent. Last week, Hassan led 51.4 to 43 percent. The margin of error for this race is also 2.98 percent.
In the 2nd District U.S. House race, last week, Rep. Ann McLane Kuster led Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, 50.1 to 38.1 percent. This week, this poll has Kuster’s lead down to 46.1 to 42.5 percent.
In the 1st District, Republican challenger Frank Guinta has taken over the lead from lead Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, although the results are within the margin of error for a statistical tie. This week the Guinta lead is 46.3 to 43.5 percent; last week Shea-Porter led, 46.7 to 44.2 percent.
The margin of error for each congressional polls was 4.2 percent, making both statistical dead heats.
Overall, the results reflect the fact that with three weeks remaining until the election, rank-and-file voters are beginning to think about and seriously consider who they want to vote for on Nov. 4. And with the unpopularity of President Obama — his approval rating is 44.4 percent and disapproval rating is 51.6 percent, according to NEC – weighing down the Democratic incumbents, the Republicans are gaining ground.
The question is whether the Democrats’ attacks on the Republicans as “extreme,” Tea Party supporters and, in Brown’s case, as someone who is unfamiliar with New Hampshire, is a supporter of “Big Oil,” “Wall Street” and the conservative Koch brothers, will stop the momentum.
Independent votes will decide these contests.
At the moment, among independents, Brown is the only Republican to lead, the NEC poll shows – by 47.5 to 43.7 percent over Shaheen.
Also among independents, Hassan leads Havenstein, 46.2 to 39.7 percent; Guinta and Shea-Porter are tied at 41 percent each and Kuster leads Garcia, 42.8 to 39.8 percent.
In other findings, the poll found that 58.4 percent of Granite States approve of the federal government’s actions to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S. but 61 percent said they wre concerned that the virus will affect New Hampshire.