The UNH Survey Center released a poll Sunday night echoing what Granite State politicos have been telling NHJournal for days: “Too close to call.”
The new Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, gave incumbent U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan a 50-48 percent edge over her challenger, retired Gen. Don Bolduc.
The race in the First Congressional District is even tighter, according to the poll, with GOP newcomer Karoline Leavitt trailing Rep. Chris Pappas by a single point, 50-49 percent.
“The election is playing out the way political scientists would expect: Voters end up backing their party’s candidates, an unpopular president’s party gets punished, and economic issues drive people to the polls,” said Survey Center Director Andrew Smith.
There was one notable trend in both races. According to the survey, undecided voters have broken significantly for the GOP challengers since UNH’s previous polling in September. That echoed the finding of the St. Anselm College Survey Center poll released last week, though that poll gave Leavitt a significant six-point lead. (Bolduc was up 48-47 percent in the St. A’s poll.)
And like other recent polls, the UNH Survey found Gov. Chris Sununu has a massive lead — 55-43 percent — over Democratic challenger state Sen. Tom Sherman. Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster also enjoyed a comfortable 53-45 point lead over Republican Bob Burns.
Some Granite State political insiders and strategists dismiss UNH surveys, pointing toward their methodology. UNH uses a panel of respondents, rather than reaching out to random voters. The new poll used responses from 2,257 respondents who completed the online survey between Nov. 2 and 6.
In the last midterm election, the Granite State Poll released immediately before Election Day 2018 said the governor’s race between Sununu and Democrat Molly Kelly was too close to call at 49 percent each. Sununu went on to win a comfortable seven-point victory, 53-46 percent. That poll also gave both Democratic congressional candidates margins that were nearly twice as large as the final tally.
The Bolduc campaign believes the race is breaking its way.
“New Hampshire is a blue state and Sen. Hassan has outraised and outspent us by an overwhelming margin, but we feel confident heading into the last day of the campaign,” said Bolduc spokeswoman Kate Constantini. “The momentum is on our side, our candidate has outworked the incumbent, and we have the issue set on our side about heating and eating and economic uncertainty. Make no mistake: This will be a close race, and anyone who wants change needs to get out and vote for Gen. Bolduc on Tuesday.”