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Sununu Moves Ahead in New Hampshire

Incumbent Republican Senator John Sununu can breathe a little easier in New Hampshire if the numbers keep trending his way in his rematch race against former Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

Sununu, viewed until recently as perhaps the GOP’s most endangered senator, now leads Shaheen 52% to 45%, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. A month ago Sununu was down by 10, but in July the volatile Senate race was a five-point affair. In June Shaheen had her largest lead ever.

Since the August poll, John McCain has named the popular woman governor of Alaska as his running mate and the Republicans have held their national convention, producing a bounce for the presidential ticket and many GOP candidates nationwide.

It is unclear if Sununu is a beneficiary of this, although unaffiliated voters, who make up nearly half the electorate in the Granite State, now give him a 49% to 45% edge after months of trending his Democratic opponent’s way. A month ago Shaheen led 56% to 31% among unaffiliateds.

Ninety-three percent (93%) of Republicans and 10% of Democrats now support Sununu. Ninety percent (90%) of Democrats and six percent (6%) of GOP voters are backing Shaheen.

Sununu now leads by 14 points among men and trails by a statistically insignificant one point among women. Both represent sizable changes from August (demographic crosstabs are available for Premium Members). Learn More. Future polling will determine whether the new numbers are a statistical anomaly or indicative of a larger trend moving Sununu’s way.

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Shaheen, the first woman governor of New Hampshire, served from 1997 to 2003. She is viewed favorably by 52%, down three from August, and unfavorably by 46%, up seven points from a month ago.

Sununu, at 44 the youngest U.S. senator, was elected to the Senate in 2002 when he defeated Shaheen by a 51% to 46% margin. Forty-nine percent (49%) of New Hampshire voters now have a favorable opinion of him, while nearly as many (47%) view him unfavorably. These numbers are largely unchanged from last month.

Any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered vulnerable, and prior to this poll, Sununu had not even managed to attract more than 45% support. But New Hampshire is not the only Republican Senate seat at risk this season. Democrats are hoping for pick-ups in Alaska, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota and Virginia.

Rasmussen Markets data suggests that Shaheen has a % chance of winning New Hampshire’s Senate race in November. These results are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom.

New Hampshire’s Democratic governor, John Lynch, earns good or excellent marks for his job performance from 53% of the state’s voters. Just 14% say he is doing a poor job. These numbers are quite close to last month’s findings.

While Sununu gained ground over the past month, the race for the White House in New Hampshire is too close to call.

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New Hampshire Leans Democratic

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2002 Results

Sununu (R)

44%

44%

51%

Shaheen (D)

51%

51%

47%

This telephone survey of 700 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports September 23, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology


New Hampshire Trends: Sununu vs. Shaheen

Date

Sununu

Shaheen

10/30/2008

44%

52%

10/23/2008

46%

52%

10/01/2008

45%

50%

09/23/2008

52%

45%

08/19/2008

40%

51%

07/23/2008

45%

50%

06/18/2008

39%

53%

05/20/2008

43%

50%

04/30/2008

43%

51%

03/16/2008

41%

49%

02/13/2008

41%

49%

09/18/2007

43%

48%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in New Hampshire

 

Sununu

Shaheen

Very Favorable

27%

24%

Somewhat Favorable

24%

31%

Somewhat Unfavorable

26%

15%

Very Unfavorable

20%

28%

Not Sure

2%

2%


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.