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Maggie Hassan (D)
Maggie Hassan (D)

Public Policy Polling (PDF). 5/10-13. New Hampshire voters. MoE ±2.9% (4.5% for Democratic primary sample, 4.2% for Republican primary sample) (6/30-7/5/2011 in parentheses):

Maggie Hassan (D): 39 (35)
Ovide Lamontagne (R): 40 (41)
Undecided: 21 (24)

Maggie Hassan (D): 37
Kevin Smith (R): 31
Undecided: 32

Jackie Cilley (D): 38
Ovide Lamontagne (R): 38
Undecided: 24

Jackie Cilley (D): 37
Kevin Smith (R): 32
Undecided: 31

Maggie Hassan (D): 23
Jackie Cilley (D): 20
Undecided: 57

Ovide Lamontagne (R): 53
Kevin Smith (R): 13
Undecided: 34

New Hampshire is entering a new era in state politics: one that doesn't involve Governor John Lynch. The very popular Democratic incumbent (with 60/28 approvals in this poll) is retiring after four terms (although New Hampshire is one of only two states in the country that uses two-year gubernatorial terms, four terms is still highly unusual). That leaves an open seat in a hotly-contested swing state that had some of the nation's sharpest pendulum swings in 2008 and 2010 and where the pendulum now seems poised to stop right in the middle. Public Policy Polling's first NH-Gov poll since Lynch's retirement announcement last year (though you'll notice there is one trendline that's salvageable from the time they polled the race shortly before Lynch's retirement) finds the race about as dead a heat as you'll see, very similar to last month's poll by Univ. of New Hampshire.

The reality of this race, though, is that nobody knows the candidates yet. Ovide Lamontagne, who narrowly lost the 2010 GOP Senate primary, is best-known thanks to that campaign. Even he's at only 29/33 favorables, but he's a massive celebrity compared with ex-State Sen. Maggie Hassan (15/16), ex-state Sen. Jackie Cilley (11/16), and ex-State Rep. (and not the film director) Kevin Smith (8/17). So, really, all we're seeing now is the size of the two party's solid bases. And New Hampshire, swing state that it is, seems to have bases of very similar sizes. We'll need to check back in a few months to see how they've grown their shares, but for now, the Democrats are starting in a good-looking spot, seeing as how more Democrats and indies are undecided than are Republicans.

Lamontagne -- who was the Tea Party alternative to Kelly Ayotte in 2010 but who since then seems to have donned the establishment mantle -- does seem to have an electability edge over Smith, though, worth about five points to the Dems. Smith is more of a social conservative, something that tends not to play well in New Hampshire, where the right-wingers tend to be more libertarian-flavored. (Case in point, only 13% of the poll's respondents say there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples. 54% support marriage, while another 31% say civil unions.) Unfortunately for the Dem candidates, Lamontagne has a sizable edge in the GOP primary.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Seriously, that's the photo you put up of the (0+ / 0-)

    Dem nominee? Really?

    President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

    by askew on Wed May 16, 2012 at 01:23:46 PM PDT

  •  Moving on from hair cut discussion (4+ / 0-)

    That is, I'm sure an excellent reflection of DKE's chops, I can't help but think this race is right where Democrats want it. I would have thought former State Senator Maggie Hassan (who was the Majority Leader if I'm not mistaken), was more of a front-runner in the primary. An interesting fact, if Cilley or Hassan are elected Governor, while Bass and Guinta lose to their respective challengers, New Hampshire would have a completely female Congressional delegation and a female Governor.

    But back to Lamontagne, he has a lot of baggage. To start, he was one of the main lawyers representing the Roman Catholic Diocese in it's child sex abuse scandal in the state, helping to manage the 2003 in order to prevent it from being prosecuted.

    And while David Jarman mentions Kevin Smith as a social conservative, Lamontagne has been rocking that label for several decades now. The last time Lamontagne ran for NH Governor, in 1996, (when the state was considerably tougher for Democrats in my opinion), he lost 57-40 to Jeanne Shaheen (quick political factoid, Shaheen is the first woman in U.S. History to be elected both Governor and Senator).

    After a federal judge in California overturned that state’s gay marriage ban yesterday, Lamontagne immediately criticized an “activist, unelected federal judiciary” for usurping the rights of individual states to define marriage.

    Lamontagne said in a statement that he has been the only candidate in the U.S. Senate race to call for a federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/...

    Here is the oath he made to NH voters in 2010:

    OVIDE’S OATH TO THE VOTERS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

    1. I pledge that I will use every means possible to repeal the trillion dollar Obamacare takeover of our country’s health care system that will increase healthcare costs, harm small business and decrease the quality and availability of care;

    2. I pledge that I will refuse any earmark requests, and lead the effort to enact a permanent ban on these corrupting influences, while fighting daily to cut federal spending and government waste at all levels. I further pledge that if elected, my office expenses and schedule will be transparent and posted for all to see, so the people of New Hampshire can trust that their Senator represents their interests alone;

    3. I pledge that I will introduce legislation that will repeal the failed $787 billion stimulus, and use the unspent portions of it to reduce our bloated national debt and reduce taxes for hard working Americans;

    4. I pledge that I will introduce legislation establishing a constitutional Line-Item Veto for the President. The Governors of 43 states have this essential tool to veto individual examples of wasteful pork-barrel spending. It is time the President is given the same tool, to help eliminate budget busting spending programs;

    5. I pledge that I will work to amend the Constitution to establish term limits for all Members of Congress, to end the cycle of entitlement and inside dealing with the special interests. Our Forefathers envisioned a citizen Legislature, not a permanent political caste of powerful insiders insulated from regular Americans. In addition, I pledge to limit myself to only two terms in office, if elected;

    6. I pledge that I will work to amend the Constitution to establish a Balanced Budget Amendment, a tool nearly every state has, to compel legislators and the government to balance its checkbook and end the all too familiar DC culture of debt, deficit spending and bailouts;

    7. I pledge that I will work to fundamentally reform the IRS and scrap the incredibly complicated and loophole filled federal tax code, replacing it with a fairer, flatter, simpler tax code that frees families and small businesses held hostage annually by high tax rates and complicated rules and regulations;

    8. I pledge that I will support the appointment of only those judges who have proven that they will adhere to the Constitution and rule of law, shown due regard and respect for private property rights, and who have shown that they will not legislate from the bench. With that in mind, I have publicly opposed the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court without hesitation, because they are activists who do not pass this fundamental test;

    9. I pledge that as Senator, one of my top daily priorities will be the security of our country and her people. In particular, I pledge: (a) to continue support for our operations against terrorists abroad, and provide support for our troops in the field with the resources they need to defend freedom, while ensuring that they receive the finest care and treatment possible upon their return home; (b) to work to ensure that we treat foreign terrorists as enemy combatants subject to military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, not as criminal defendants; and (c) to stand firm against allowing a nuclear Iran to emerge, while supporting our proven allies throughout the world, including our staunch friend Israel;

    10. I pledge that I will read and understand the legislation that I am asked to vote upon, to respect and advocate for the principles of federalism articulated in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, and look first to the Constitution for guidance on whether any proposed federal legislation is constitutionally permissible;

    11. I pledge that I will not move to Washington to become part of the establishment culture there. If elected, I will live in my home in Manchester – the same home that I grew up in – and commute to my job each week on behalf of the people of New Hampshire. I further pledge that I will hold regular town hall meetings with my constituents, understanding that elected officials must be held accountable to the voters and prepared to explain their actions to them;

    12. I pledge that in all aspects of my job as U.S. Senator, I will work to uphold and support the dignity of human life, from conception to natural death;

    13. I pledge that I will work tirelessly to end illegal immigration. While I support the recently enacted Arizona immigration law, the federal government must finally live up to its obligation to address this serious issue. As Senator, I will work to see that our borders are secured once and for all, that we turn off illegal immigration magnets by aggressively enforcing laws against employers who hire illegal aliens, and that we ensure there is no amnesty for illegal aliens;

    14. I pledge to be a strong and unrelenting advocate for the individual right to keep and bear arms, as embodied in the 2nd Amendment, and to ensure that this fundamental right is not infringed upon;

    15. I pledge to oppose any iteration of the ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ and its card check provisions, which would deny workers the right to a secret ballot when considering unionization. I believe in the private ballot, and I further believe in right to work laws that give workers the right to decide for themselves whether to join a union or not.

    The bold highlights Lamantagne's pro-life beliefs. In fact he supports a Human Life amendment to the Constitution. Aside from that there is a ton of teabaggery outsidery conservative stuff there. I found the other bolded text particularly funny, because, really, it seems obvious that that is exactly what the "Forefathers" wanted in designing a Legislature, and even creating a new Capital that could be claimed by no state, and laid in the geographic middle of the coast. That and the fact that the oft-invoked, feel-good figures were themselves an aristocratic group of insiders, a whose whose of plantation owners, businessmen, and civic figures.

    His website, which actually looks really nice, focuses more on his economic conservatism, including harping on minor tax issues and attacking the record of the past administration. Probably a better strategy than revealing his social conservatism, his long history thereon. But for the most part it is a pretty vapid website. Maggie Hassan's has more substance in my opinion.

    But in any case, make no mistake, Lamantagne is exactly the candidate Democrats want to run against. And with John Lynch retiring very popular (unfortunately, I would have liked to see him tie for being the longest serving NH Governor ever, he's still the first 4 term Governor in something like 70+ years, as well as the first person to unseat an incumbent Governor in the state in 78 years back in 2004), and Obama likely winning the state in November, Lamtantagne is highly unlikely to find the third time the charm.

    "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

    by ArkDem14 on Wed May 16, 2012 at 04:33:04 PM PDT

    •  "Manage the 2003 settlement..." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      left something out, dang it.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Wed May 16, 2012 at 04:34:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PPP NC Prez poll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, James Allen, bumiputera

    PPP usually asks the Mccain question in its state Prez polls..... but not in NC.  None of its last several NC polls have asked the Mccain/2008 question.

    [shrug]

    Why?

    Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

    by tommypaine on Wed May 16, 2012 at 05:55:27 PM PDT

  •  Also, Dems lead the generic state legislative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    ballot 47-41 in NH.

    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Theodore Seuss Geisel

    by KingofSpades on Wed May 16, 2012 at 11:59:45 PM PDT

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