CONCORD – A new Republican poll shows Gov. Maggie Hassan receiving support from less than 50 percent of voters in a head-to-head match-up with GOP candidate Walt Havenstein. The pollster says “negative press” regarding Hassan’s return of $33,000 in campaign contributions has hurt her.
The Republican Governors Association poll, conducted among 600 likely voters Aug. 10-13, showed Hassan leading Havenstein 42 to 37 percent. In July, the same pollster found Hassan leading Havenstein, 46 to 32 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percent.
The August and July polls were conducted by National Research, Inc., a New Jersey firm whose long client list is headed by Gov. Chris Christie.
The New Jersey governor chairs the RGA and has been to New Hampshire twice campaigning for Havenstein. The pollster says Christie’s visists have helped Havenstein received “good press.”
Havenstein’s primary foe, Andrew Hemingway, is not mentioned in the poll memo obtained by the New Hampshire Journal.
The National Research memo, dated Aug. 15, said, “A confluence of events over the past several weeks helped improve the prospects of Republican Gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein.
“The most obvious of these is the good press Walt has enjoyed, including the coverage of Governor Christie’s visits, as well as the fact that Walt’s ads have found their mark,” the memo says. “Equally important is the negative press coverage the Hassan campaign has received regarding the illegal campaign contributions that they were ordered to return by the Attorney General’s office.
“The fact that no clear major Independent candidate has emerged also benefits Walt, as the ‘not Hassan’ vote is now consolidated into one place,” the memo says. “Outside factors, such as the border crisis and the crisis in the Middle East and Israel seem to have had a noticeable negative effect on base Democratic intensity.”
The pollster said its survey also found Hassan’s favorable-unfavorable rating at 51-37 percent, which, it said, “is statistically worse than her image was in our early July poll (53%-31%).” It said her job approval/disapproval has dropped from 63-26 percent to 53 to 39 percent.
The pollster said, “Our poll shows what most other public polls show: that Governor Hassan is under 50 percent in the ballot, despite her favorable ratings and job approval ratings. We also show that she has taken a hit over the past month due to circumstances within her control as well as outside of her control.”
The University of New Hampshire has not conducted a poll in the governor’s race since early July. At that time, Hassan led Havenstein 55 to 29 percent and Hemingway 54 to 28 percent.
The “Real Clear Politics” polling average shows Hassan over Havenstein 49.8 to 30 percent.