Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ovide Lamontagne deserves his status as frontrunner, but the race to be the GOP standard bearer is far from decided and upstart Kevin Smith has an opening to be a credible alternative, according to a new NH Journal poll.
Lamontagne leads Smith 37% – 15% with another 48% still undecided among GOP voters and Republican-leaning Undeclared voters. Lamontagne is also significantly more popular than not. Forty-one percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of him while only 16% have an unfavorable opinion.
Smith, on the other hand, is a virtual unknown, with only 20% hard name ID. Thus his 15% on the ballot says more about possible disgruntlement with the frontrunner than about his own candidacy.
Smith is making moves to solve his name ID problem. He has engaged in a series of town hall meetings throughout the state and last week he launched a radio spot gently ribbing Lamontagne for being a “career politician” and a “perennial candidate.”
While jobs and the economy dominate national opinion polls, Granite State Republicans care nearly as much about taxes and spending (33%) as they do about jobs (36%). New Hampshire’s unemployment rate of 5.2% is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate.
Granite State Republicans continue to oppose same sex marriage by a margin of 56% – 33%, which is notable given the GOP-dominated legislature’s failure to overturn the state’s same sex marriage law earlier in this year’s legislative session.
Almost a full three-quarters of Republicans (74%) have seen, read or heard about the recent personal scandal involving outgoing House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt but only 25% believe it will have a negative impact on the Republicans’ chances in the fall election.
The survey of 522 Republicans and Republican-leaning Undeclared voters was conducted between May 31 and June 2 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.28.
View survey results here:
And crosstabs here: