NH-Sen: Hodes Within 3 of Ayotte, With a Sarah Palin Assist

PPP (pdf) (7/23-25, New Hampshire voters, 4/17-18 in parentheses):

Paul Hodes (D): 42 (40)

Kelly Ayotte (R): 45 (47)

Undecided: 13 (13)

Paul Hodes (D): 41 (41)

Bill Binnie (R): 46 (46)

Undecided: 13 (13)

Paul Hodes (D): 43 (43)

Jim Bender (R): 42 (40)

Undecided: 16 (18)

Paul Hodes (D): 43 (43)

Ovide Lamontagne (R): 38 (38)

Undecided: 18 (19)

(MoE: ±3.3%)

It looks like Sarah Palin is one former point guard that you don’t want an assist from… or more specifically, her endorsement is great in the GOP primary, but poison in the general. It turns out that 26% of voters say her endorsement would may it more likely that they’d vote for her endorsee, while 51% say it would make them less likely. In this race, Kelly Ayotte got the endorsement, and it seems to have had exactly that effect, in that Ayotte is the only candidate for whom the spread against Democrat Paul Hodes got tighter since April.

Moderates really seem to dominate the field (47% are moderate here, with 23% liberal and 30% conservative), and that also may explain why Bill Binnie, who’s portraying himself as the most moderate of the GOP field here, is now faring the best against Hodes. (It’ll be interesting to see whether he can get out of the conservative-dominated GOP primary, though, and Tom Jensen hints that he won’t. Presumably PPP will release primary numbers tomorrow.) The Palin effect is particularly pronounced among moderates: 14% say more likely, 65% say less likely.  

Looking into the fine print, I’m also noticing something very unusual here: Granite Staters seem to dislike every single candidate in this race (Hodes at 35/40, Ayotte 36/39, Binnie 27/33, Bender 15/28, Lamontagne 16/33), which is probably attributable to the negative ads currently filling the air. But in a marked departure from most other states, they actually approve of their elected officials (Barack Obama 49/47, Judd Gregg 44/39, Jeanne Shaheen 45/44).

85 thoughts on “NH-Sen: Hodes Within 3 of Ayotte, With a Sarah Palin Assist”

  1.    I have been seeing so many people writing off Hodes’ chances in the election that it is good to see it still close. I know that NH isn’t as Democratic as it seemed in 2006-08 but it also isn’t as Republican as it used to be. I hope that Hodes can put together a good campaign and win this thing.

  2. Hodes will win.  

    I find their approvals of all of their federally elected officials (except House) perplexing.  I think NH voters want to be viewed as smart and are unlikely to be thought of as dumb.  So they approve of their delegation more than most any other state.

    How exactly Obama has a higher approve than Gregg or Shaheen I don’t really know.  But that can ONLY help give Hodes hope that being visibile and doing what he thinks is right will be important.  

    What is Shea-Porters approve/disapporve?

  3. for endorsements according to PPP.


    In fact, Palin 26% number is just as high as Obama’s 26% number in own home state of Illinois.

    Obama endorsement:

    Illinois: 26/40

    Louisiana: 22/55

    Ohio: 24/51

    Penn: 22/50

    Wisconsin: 19/50

    Palin’s 26/51 in New Hampshire is comparable to all of those states and keep in mind that Obama won all of those states except for Louisiana.

  4. I’d kind of written this off in my head after so many months with so little seeming traction.  Not that I had written it off as really unwinnable, just that there didn’t seem to be much momentum nor any particular prospect of gaining some.

  5. I want to add that Barbara Boxer is now up 49-40 over Carly Fiorina, according to PPP. Fiorina, of course, is another Mama Grizzly. Palin may prove to be the kiss of death, God willing. But Fiorina’s problems go deeper than that. She’s arrogant, reactionary, and unlikable. As she increasingly becomes the subject, moderates are turning back to Boxer. Another factor, often overlooked, is that Boxer is an amazing politician. She’s proven that she knows how to win in California, even in adverse conditions. I think she’ll do it again.

    The kids are all right.

  6. It has to do with Palin. This race has not been polled by non-Rasmussen in a long time. Since then, Binnie and Hodes have attacked Ayotte and she has had a scandal.  

  7. These numbers are effectively the same once one takes into account the margin of error. I think the Palin endorsement doesn’t do much for Ayotte, but I can’t imagine the average voter even knows it has happened.

        If the Ds get some momentum going into November this race will be very close if not a Hodes win. In the current environment it looks like it’d be Ayotte. I think other than NC this race is the one most likely to trend the same as the rest of the nation.  

  8. I think it’s a combination of a few different things: the attack ads by Binnie and Bender, the scandal from her time as AG, and the natural ebb and flow of an election cycle. NH is always unpredictable, and while I still consider Ayotte the favorite because of the environment, I expect Hodes to hang in there all the way to election day.

    Also, a bit of a long shot explanation here: the last poll was taken just after Tax Day, which is a great time for the GOP (even Nate Silver remarked that April 15th is the one day a year he considers becoming a Repbulican.) Perhaps the timing of that poll gave Ayotte an artificial bump in this tax-hating part of the country, and the race has always been closer than we thought.

  9. I’m vacationing in NH right now and i have seen 4 ayotte signs (3 were clustered together).  I have seen several signs for bender and binne.  a few for lynch, more for stephens who is also running for gov, and a cluster of assorted signs for house.  aside from the lynch sign, i have not seen a single sign for a dem (although they’re not in a primary, so that might be expected).

  10. I don’t believe that Palin’s presence will help or hurt Ayotte in November.  The conservatives are excited right now, and having her presence in NH may excite them more.  At the same time, it might push the NH moderate voice towards Hodes in the process.  It could end up as a wash.

    At the same time, Obama’s presence in NH could have a positive effect for Hodes.  The Democratic base is not nearly as excited about 2010 as the Republican base.  Having Obama (or Clinton) assist Hodes would potentially excite the base in a way that would make some statistical noise.  At the same time, the moderates probably wouldn’t be too upset by an Obama/Clinton appearance because a good portion of the moderates had voted for them in the past.

    This will be a close race, and unless Ayotte can shore up her moderate numbers, she will be relying almost exclusively on the conservative outrage.  

  11. This a Mccain-heavy sample with 12% Obama voter no-shows.  The Obama no-shows will be some variable percentage in every state, but 12% is very high for a state with almost no African American voters.

    Make that 4%, and Hodes leads Ayotte by about a point and is a couple points behind Binnie.

    Pure toss up here, and clearly Dems should be rooting against Binnie and for Ayotte.

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