August 20. 2018 7:21PM

Poll: Molly Kelly holds edge over Steve Marchand in Democratic primary for governor

Union Leader staff

Former state senator Molly Kelly and former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand, both Democrats, are running for governor. 

MANCHESTER — Former state senator Molly Kelly is viewed more favorably than former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand in the Democratic primary for governor, according to the latest poll from the St. Anselm College Institute of Politics.

The August poll, released on Monday, shows Kelly with a small advantage over Marchand in name recognition (63 percent to 60 percent) and a 36-percent favorability rating among likely primary voters, compared to Marchand’s 29 percent.

The winner of the Sept. 11 primary will take on incumbent Republican Chris Sununu in November.

The race for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District appears to be coming down to a contest between Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and former Obama administration official Maura Sullivan. The crowded field features 11 Democrats vying to replace incumbent Carol Shea Porter, who is not running for reelection.

The poll shows Pappas with a favorability rating of 54 percent and Sullivan at 43 percent. Former Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati and State Rep. Mindi Messmer are both in the 18-percent range for favorability. Pappas leads in name recognition with 79 percent, compared to Sullivan’s 70 percent.

The two leading Republicans in the 1st Congressional District are nearly even in the poll. State Sen. Andy Sanborn holds a slight advantage in name recognition over former Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards (59 to 55 percent), while Edwards has a slight edge in favorability (28 to 26 percent).

With only three weeks remaining until the primary, the 2nd Congressional District has no clear favorite among Republicans vying for the right to square off against incumbent Democrat Ann McLane Kuster in November. Lynn Blankenbeker, Robert Burns, Stewart Levenson and Steve Negron all share similar name recognition and favorability ratings in the poll.

In the Survey Center’s April poll, 32 percent of voters thought Kuster “deserves reelection,” while 45 percent said “give someone new a chance.”

The results are from a St. Anselm College Survey Center poll based on phone interviews with 817 randomly selected likely primary voters in the state between Aug. 15-18.

“As we head into the critical stretch run of the primary, the races are beginning to take shape as candidates differentiate themselves in crowded fields,” said Neil Levesque, the executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

“With many names on the ballot this year, simply getting voters to pay attention to a message can be challenging. It is likely that the September winners will emerge from the group of candidates that have begun to break away from the pack in terms of name recognition.”