Oct. 8, 2015 — Gov. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) announcement Monday that she will challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) changes the national Senate picture. Adding New Hampshire to the most highly competitive category is certainly an advantage for the Democrats but, even so, they are still short of obtaining what they need to recapture the Senate majority they lost in 2014.
As we know, 34 Senate seats are in-cycle for 2016, 24 of which majority Republicans hold. In order to gain control, Democrats must protect all 10 of their seats and convert four Republican states.
Looking ahead as to where the campaigns might find themselves in political prime time, those key eight weeks before the election, we’ve put together the following categories to show how the races break down state to state: Continue reading →
Oct. 7, 2015 — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) announced Monday that she will challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) next year. Rumors abounded since the time Hassan was re-elected to a second two-year term that she would in fact make the move to the Senate race. Recently, however, it appeared that the chances of her giving up the governorship in order to challenge the Republican incumbent were becoming lesser. So, the announcement came as a mild surprise.
The move increases the Democrats’ chances of re-taking the Senate because they put another state in play. This is clearly now a toss-up race, featuring two veteran statewide candidates in the most unpredictable of political states. No place has defeated more federal incumbents since 2006 than New Hampshire. Beginning with Jeanne Shaheen’s (D) victory over then-Sen. John E. Sununu (R) nine years ago, the electorate has subsequently unseated six congressional incumbents while only re-electing three during this five-election period.
The New Hampshire political tides have also been strong. Except for the governor’s office, which has remained primarily in Democratic hands, the state has swept out the entire slate of both party office holders almost routinely in the past 10 years.
Aug. 31, 2015 — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) continues to remain non-committal about whether she will seek re-election or challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), and her ambivalence could be hurting her. Long saying she would decide when the state budget situation was resolved (she signed the budget bill on July 9), Hassan has yet to give any indication of what she might do. Refusing to wait any longer, others are stepping up.
Earlier this week, state Rep. Frank Edelblut (R) announced his gubernatorial candidacy regardless of what Hassan decides. Previously, US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH-2), long thought of as a challenger to Sen. Ayotte should Hassan stay put, announced that she will seek re-election next year irrespective of what statewide position may or may not be open.
Now a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 21-24; 841 registered New Hampshire voters) that skews decidedly to the Democratic side finds Hassan making no gains against Sen. Ayotte, still trailing her by just one point, 44-43 percent. Normally, this would be considered good news for a potential challenger but, in this case, the opposite might well be true.
July 30, 2015 — In the past few days, media analysts have been talking up the idea that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could actually overtake and defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. There is no doubt Clinton is free falling while Sanders moves upwards — some say he’s surging, but that is an overstatement – yet, the former Secretary of State and First Lady’s lead remains secure. One only needs to check Democratic Party nomination rules for verification that she is still the prohibitive favorite.
An article from Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin for Bloomberg Politics suggests that Sanders could actually win the nomination, providing seven specific reasons to support his argument. Yesterday, Gallup released their new data (July 8-21; 2,374 adults, 966 adults who identify with the Democratic Party) that finds Clinton’s favorability index moving into upside-down territory (43:46 percent positive to negative) while Sanders is doubling his positive ID based upon a comparison from their previous survey.
Now, let’s return to earth. Halperin argues that it would be a defeat for Clinton to only top Sanders 2:1 in the early states. Such a result would allow the self-described socialist to continue his campaign, because the media will write this scenario as a Sanders’ win. But, the writer overlooks one fundamental point in building for a nomination victory: the delegate count.
April 20, 2015 — Since 2006, New Hampshire politics has been volatile to the point that no incumbent – Democrat or Republican – can be considered safe. Such is the recent history that first term Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) faces as she prepares for re-election next year.
Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), despite a strong public approval record for most of her first two-year term, struggled to a 52-47 percent victory over unknown businessman Walt Havenstein (R) in the mid-term election.
Under this backdrop, Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of New Hampshire voters (April 9-13; 747 registered New Hampshire voters) and found the two, predictably, locked in a dead heat. According to PPP, if the election were now, Hassan would nip the Senator 46-45 percent.
Ayotte’s ballot test standing is slightly better than her job approval score; the latter showing her mildly upside down, 40:43 percent. By contrast, Hassan’s gubernatorial job performance rates a strong 53:34 percent. Interestingly, this may suggest a more troubling trend for Hassan, leading one to conclude that a significant number of voters who think she is performing well as governor are not supporting her for Senate. Continue reading >
FEB. 23, 2015 – Missouri Democrats successfully landed their top choice to challenge first-term Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Secretary of State Jason Kander, an Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran, made public yesterday his plans to seek the US Senate seat next year.
Kander, 33, a former two-term state Representative from the Kansas City metropolitan area, won a close 2012 race for Secretary of State – ironically, a position Blunt himself held from 1985-1993 – defeating Republican Shane Schoeller by just over 39,000 votes out of more than 2.6 million ballots cast.
He will face an uphill battle against Sen. Blunt, one of the best prepared and battle tested of Republican incumbents. Winning a landslide 54-41 percent victory against then-Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) in 2010, Blunt is now chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in the new Republican majority. Elected to the House from the southwestern 7th Congressional District in 1996, he quickly rose to the position of Chief Deputy Majority Whip, and was elected both Majority and Minority Whip. Continue reading >
A new Vox Populi poll is either confirming a swing toward the New Hampshire Republican candidates, or is a clear outlier.
According to this new survey research firm’s latest Granite State data (Sept. 15-16; 550 likely New Hampshire voters), former Sen. Scott Brown (R) has now taken a surprising lead over Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), 47-43 percent, a spread close to exceeding the polling margin of error. The totals reach the stated share for each candidate when the respondents leaning to each individual are added.
Since Sept. 10, the results from six polls, via six different pollsters (two of which were polling for a partisan interest), find Sen. Shaheen leading in four of the scenarios and Brown, two. This suggests that Brown has growing momentum because he is now leading or trailing by a smaller number than found in previous studies.
Both Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling for the League of Conservation Voters find the incumbent leading by six points, while the American Research Group posts her to a five-point advantage. The fourth survey, from New England College, gives Sen. Shaheen an 11-point margin. This latter study clearly seems to be an outlier because no other pollster has come anywhere near such a conclusion within the Continue reading >