• March 29, 2023

Poll shows tight New Hampshire Senate race in a must-win contest for Democrats

 Poll shows tight New Hampshire Senate race in a must-win contest for Democrats

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., during a hearing, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Manchester, N.H. Charles Krupa/AP

| April 22, 2022

New polling shows that incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is facing a tight reelection bid despite big-name Republicans such as Gov. Chris Sununu and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte staying out of the race.

The poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, has Hassan within the margin of error of many of the top Republican contenders, highlighting her vulnerability in a race that could determine the balance of power in the Senate after the midterm cycle.


“In 2016, I won by just 1,017 votes, and this year could be even closer. I’m no stranger to tough fights, but it’s going to take all of us working together,” she tweeted earlier this week, acknowledging her shaky reelection prospects.

Democrats need to hold on to the New Hampshire seat to maintain their Senate majority, which currently depends on Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote in the 50-50 chamber.

The poll found that Hassan leads Republicans Don Buldoc 47% to 46%, Kevin Smith 45% to 44%, and Bruce Fenton 46% to 40%. She is down against Chuck Morse 44% to 46%. The poll surveyed 975 prospective voters online from April 14-18, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. A majority of the voters (52%) surveyed voted for President Joe Biden during the most recent election.

Perhaps most alarming for Hassan is that roughly 51% of voters view her unfavorably, compared to 35% who view her favorably. Voter favorability for all of her top potential Republican competitors is underwater as well, but none of their negatives rise above 34%, with most voters unsure or undecided.

President Joe Biden recently visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to discuss supply chain problems and try to bolster support for Hassan, but that may not help, as his approval ratings hover around all-time lows. Hassan has mostly been a vocal supporter of the president, voting for legislation backed by the administration 98% of the time, but recently, she has also sought to put some distance between herself and the unpopular administration.

Hassan joined a growing Democratic mutiny voicing opposition to Biden’s plan to roll back Title 42, which restricts migration into the United States due to COVID-19. Concerned about political backlash from a spike in illegal border crossings, Hassan also recently indicated she would support efforts to fill “certain gaps in physical barriers along the border.” Her immigration posture has drawn criticism from some activists in the Democratic Party.

I just spent two days at our southern border, and it’s clear we need to make more investments in personnel, technology, and physical infrastructure to secure our border.

WATCH ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/3NCjPMrOzx

— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) April 11, 2022


Republicans are widely expected to surf the red wave during the 2022 midterm cycle given historical advantages and a plethora of politically dicey issues dogging the Democrats, including inflation, rising crime, and high levels of illegal immigration. Many forecasts have Republicans retaking the House but cast the Senate as less of a fait accompli. Battle for control of the upper chamber, which currently has a 50–50 split between the two parties, is subject to a number of tight races, which, along with New Hampshire, include Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Hassan won her seat in 2016 after defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Ayotte in an extremely narrow 47.98% to 47.84% race. Hassan was governor at the time, having first been elected to that position in 2012.

The state has trended blue in recent decades, with Biden trouncing former President Donald Trump by 7 points in 2020. But Republicans have still managed to achieve breakthroughs, as they currently control the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.

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