NH-Sen: Ayotte May Face Trouble in GOP Primary

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (2/1-3, likely voters, 7/13-15 in parentheses)

Paul Hodes (D): 39 (38)

Kelly Ayotte (R): 46 (39)

Undecided: 11 (23)

Paul Hodes (D): 46

Ovide Lamontagne (R): 36

Undecided: 13

Paul Hodes (D): 45

William Binnie (R): 35

Undecided: 15

(MoE: ±4%)

Kelly Ayotte (R): 36

Ovide Lamontagne (R): 27

William Binnie (R): 4

Undecided: 33

(MoE: ±5%)

John Lynch (D): 59

Jack Kimball (R): 13

Undecided: 26

(MoE: ±4%)

The toplines in Research 2000’s new poll of the New Hampshire Senate race aren’t that noteworthy; they fall right in line with most other recent polls of the race, which have given Republican ex-AG Kelly Ayotte a 5 or 7 point lead over Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes. The trendlines aren’t very appealing, but they go back to July, and think about everything (mostly bad for the Dem brand) that’s happened in the last half a year; at any rate, Ayotte’s gain has only come out of the undecided column.

What’s very intersting about this poll is the GOP primary, about which we have precious little information so far. Ayotte has been running a startlingly substance-free campaign, leaving her to get squeezed both on the right by Ovide Lamontagne, favorite of national movement conservatives, and perhaps on the left (though it’s hard to tell, since Ayotte hasn’t given us any benchmarks) by businessman William Binnie, who seems to be operating in traditional New England moderate mode.

The only poll we’ve had about the primary prior to this one is a Kelly Ayotte internal from Tarrance from last month, where she led Lamontagne 43-11, with Binnie at 5 and Bender at 3. That poll seemed pretty optimistic to me from the outset, and now we have some confirmation from an independent pollster that Ayotte’s in a real fight here. With 33% still undecided, there’s still plenty of time for Lamontagne to torpedo Ayotte — especially if he can pick up national-level institutional backing, from the Club for Growth, the tea partiers, and their ilk. And considering that Lamontagne loses convincingly to Hodes in the general, I sure hope these groups are taking notice. (For what it’s worth, Ayotte is starting to go on the air, with her first radio spot, suggesting that she may be starting to notice that she can’t sleepwalk her way to the nomination.)

There are also numbers from the gubernatorial race, one of the few uncompetitive ones anywhere in the country. Centrist Democratic incumbent John Lynch has a 57% generic re-elect, and thumps GOP businessman Jack Kimball in a head-to-head. (Kimball may lose in the primary to social conservative activist Karen Testerman, but either way, this race doesn’t look like it’ll be on anyone’s radar come November.)

RaceTracker Wiki: NH-Gov

16 thoughts on “NH-Sen: Ayotte May Face Trouble in GOP Primary”

  1. I vividly remember Pat Buchanan winning the 1996 NH Presidential primary.  It shocked the hell out of me when it happened.  I could easily see a conservative defeating Ayotte in the GOP primary.  New Hampshire is a true contrarian state, and I could see the GOP voters sticking their noses up at Ayotte simply because the GOP establishment immediately backed her campaign.  Truth be told, I see Lamontagne pulling a Rubio on Ayotte.

  2. I tried hard to find a single position Ayotte has taken and the only one I found was a pledge to repeal any “government takeover” of health care sponsored by the Club for Growth. Um, okay….

    I get that it’s her strategy to vague it up until the primary’s passed and then suddenly discover that she’s Olympia Snowe, but give me a friggin’ break. She can be an Olympia Snowe moderate or a Marsha Blackburn ultraconservative or somewhere in between, but  you shouldn’t be able to be elected to the Senate as a perky, squishy-face non-entity cipher.

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