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August 21. 2014 9:58PM

Poll: Brown makes gains on Sen. Shaheen

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has narrowed to two points the lead U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen holds in a WMUR Granite State poll released Thursday.

Brown, a Republican, trailed Democrat Shaheen 46 percent to 44 percent in the latest poll, which surveyed 827 New Hampshire residents from Aug. 7 through Aug. 17. In a poll conducted in July, Shaheen led Brown 50 percent to 38 percent.

Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Brown’s campaign, did not address the poll specifically when the campaign was asked about it Thursday evening.

“The polls are going to go up and down, but Scott Brown will continue working hard, holding town hall meetings, taking his message directly to the people and earning every vote,” she said in an email.

Shaheen campaign manager Mike Vlalich said Shaheen continues to lead Brown “despite more than $3.5 million in dishonest and negative attacks” from outside special interests.

“This race will come down to who makes a difference for people in New Hampshire and Jeanne Shaheen’s record is clear. She puts New Hampshire first and always has, while Scott Brown is for Scott Brown and the special interests who line his pockets and fund his campaigns,” Vlalich said in a statement.

 

On Thursday night, Shaheen’s campaign sent out an email, using the two-point gap to ask for donations totalling $45,000 in 48 hours.

“Brown is only down by TWO, and the once-distant threat of a Republican surge is here,” the email read.

Shaheen’s favorability rating saw a 9-point decrease from last month, from 57 percent to 48 percent. Thirty-six percent of respondents called her unfavorable, according to the poll.

“Shaheen continues to be popular in New Hampshire, although her favorability has decreased since last month,” the poll said.

Brown’s favorability increased slightly, from 31 percent to 36 percent, but he has yet to eclipse the percentage of respondents calling him unfavorable, though that number decreased slightly from 40 percent to 38 percent.

“Brown has the highest name recognition of any Republican challenger, but he remains unpopular in the state,” the poll said.

Shaheen continued to enjoy double-digit leads over Brown’s opponents in the Sept. 9 primary: former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens.

The poll had Shaheen with leads of 50 percent to 36 percent over Smith and 49 percent to 35 percent over Rubens. Smith and Rubens appeared to be fighting a lack of name recognition, as those who said they didn’t know the candidate well enough to offer a favorable or unfavorable opinion were 59 percent for Smith and 80 percent for Rubens.

“Despite being a three-term congressman and two-term senator, Bob Smith remains largely unknown in the state,” the poll said. “Jim Rubens remains largely unknown in the Granite State.”The poll said Brown is able to run closely with Shaheen because of independent voters.“

While all candidates lead by large margins in their respective parties, Brown runs strongest against Shaheen because he does better among Independents (40 percent Brown, 35 percent Shaheen), while Smith (26 percent -38 percent) and Rubens (25 percent-36 percent) trail Shaheen among independents,” the poll said.

tbuckland@unionleader..com


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