Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NH looking more competitive

Kelly Ayotte's seen her appeal to moderate voters crumble in the wake of her endorsement by Sarah Palin and her lead over Paul Hodes has shrunk to its lowest level of any public polling in 2010- she has a 45-42 advantage over him, down from 47-40 in an April PPP poll.

There's not much doubt that the shift in the race is all about Ayotte. Hodes' favorability numbers have seen little change over the last three months. Where 32% of voters saw him positively and 39% negatively in April, now 35% have a favorable opinion of him to 40% with an unfavorable one. But Ayotte's seen a dramatic decline. Her favorability spread of 34/24 in April was the best we've measured for any Republican Senate candidate so far this year but her negatives have risen 15 points since that time while her positives have increased only 2 and she now stands at 36/39.

Most of the movement both in feelings about Ayotte and in the horse race has come with moderate voters. Moderates make up the largest bloc of the New Hampshire electorate at 47%, and Hodes' lead with them has expanded from just 8 points at 47-39 in April to now 21 points at 51-30. Ayotte's favorability with them has gone from +5 at 32/27 to -19 at 27/46.

The Palin endorsement may well be playing a role in this. 51% of voters in the state say they're less likely to back a Palin endorsed candidate to only 26% who say that support would make them more inclined to vote for someone. Among moderates that widens to 65% who say a Palin endorsement would turn them off to 14% who it would make more supportive.

What's most striking about the change in the Ayotte/Hodes numbers is that Hodes' standing has not improved against any of the other Republicans running. Bill Binnie is now actually the strongest Republican for the general election, leading Hodes 46-41. That's identical to the margin he led by on the previous poll. Jim Bender is now doing slightly better against Hodes, trailing just 43-42 after being down 43-40 in April. And Ovide Lamontagne's 43-38 deficit against Hodes is exactly the same as we found before.

Numbers we'll release tomorrow on the Republican primary show that the Palin endorsement has certainly helped Ayotte on that front. But although Ayotte certainly still has to be viewed as the favorite for the general election, this race is starting to look a little more interesting than it did a month ago.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

This poll is so full of crap

Every Poll from Every Organization Has Shown Hodes to be Toast

But the Dems need new poll trying to show ":their" guy not dead so who do they call? PPP

Anonymous said...

When does California come out?

DBL said...

I guess a lot of people from Vermont and Massachusetts have moved to New Hampshire, because the state has never had an electorate that was 6% higher Democratic. In 2008 it was 2% higher. I guess Republicans are no longer enthusiastic to vote.

Anonymous said...

What a crybaby! The truth is Palin does not play well with anyone but the hardcore GOP base.
The thought of that woman ever being president scares the hell out of almost everyone.
She doesn't play well anywhere but the south with the majority of voters.
I agree Hodes will probably lose but I guarentee no republican will utter the name Sarah Palin after the primary.

Anonymous said...

I'm in NH and a lot of my wife's friends - affluent GOP women - were really turned off by the Palin endorsement. The fact that she messed up some basic facts made the whole thing look really half-assed and patronizing on WMUR, the state's only TV station. The (very conservative) Union-Leader also ran critical stories about the rollout.

wt said...

I worry that this type of poll functions as a push poll, though perhaps not intentionally.

Just informing the voters that Ayotte has been endorsed by Palin is enough to change some voters' minds. And for PPP to spend time informing voters of Palin's endorsements seems like an investment in a Democratic victory.

If a Republican firm did the same type of question, say, invoking Charlie Rangel's contribution of money to Debbie Halverson ("Would Rangel giving money to Halverson make you more, less, or just as likely to support her?") I think it could be viewed similarly as a mild form of a push poll.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

Still a rational calculation for Ayotte -- can't win the general if she doesn't win the primary, and Palin helped there.

Still in the lead.

Anonymous said...

The poll shows nothing but noise in the MoE. As long as the Dem is stuck near 40% and the GOP is closer to 50% (45-47, who cares) the fact is the undecideds would most likely fall evenly and the GOP candidate wins.

It is HIGHLY unlikely the undecided vote (read independent voters) would go so much for the Dem he could erase the deficit. That kind of wishful thinking is ridiculous in this election year


Dustin Ingalls said...

"But the Dems need new poll trying to show ":their" guy not dead so who do they call? PPP"

This poll was not paid for or commissioned by anyone. It, like all the polls we release on this blog and our website, are done pro bono, for public consumption.

"Just informing the voters that Ayotte has been endorsed by Palin"

We didn't inform them of that. I wish more commenters would actually read the full poll results we always post. You'll notice that the question simply asked, like the ones we've been doing in other states on Obama and Bill Clinton, whether a Palin endorsement would make one more or less likely to vote for a candidate, or would it make no difference. This was the 23rd question asked, after all the Senate and Governor horse races, job approvals, and favorabilities were already asked.

Jayant Reddy said...

Tom, thanks as always for PPP's hard work in polling, but your turnout model in this one begs some questions.

The 2008 exit poll showed NH with a turnout model of 29D-27R-45I, and with that Obama won 54-45.

Your poll now shows a turnout model of 35D-29R-36I, but Obama won just 48-45 with this sample. That doesn't jibe with the 2008 exit poll, which showed Obama doing better with a much less Democratic electorate than you show.

At least your poll does show a more conservative and less liberal electorate than the 2008 exit poll, which helps its credibility.

I'm a Democrat and would LOVE to see the party ID turnout model your poll suggests, but it's hard to believe, especially when it contradicts not just the last election's exit poll but also the state's voter registration statistics.

All the above in mind, could you please tell us what was your voter screen for choosing respondents?

Anonymous said...

I think you are over estimating the power of the endorsement in the general election. Ayotte's decline in popularity probably has a lot to do with the fact that Binnie and Hodes have been attacking her on TV and she has had to move to the right for the primary.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the drop to be noteworthy. And I say this as someone who would never vote for a candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin. - residentfan

Dustin Ingalls said...

"It is HIGHLY unlikely the undecided vote (read independent voters) would go so much for the Dem he could erase the deficit. That kind of wishful thinking is ridiculous in this election year"

True, but this assumes the votes of everyone who declares for a particular candidate now is static, immobile over the next three-plus months. Clearly a lot of independents and moderates who previously favored Ayotte have moved toward Hodes and into the undecided column. They may move back, they may stay, or they may not vote.

Anonymous said...

This poll is another weird one. Turnout Model: 35D-29R-36I. 2008: 29D-27R-45I.

Anonymous said...

Gallup's latest NH party ID numbers (1,013 interviews) show R45, D39 (R+6). Your sample for this poll was D35, R29 (D+6). Split the difference and your poll would show Hodes losing to Ayotte by roughly 9 points--which is about what other public polls are showing.

Anonymous said...

Here's what nobody is telling you. For the sake of argument, if we accept the data that Public Policy Polling (D) found for New Hampshire, then it's pretty clear that Governor Palin's endorsement in the Granite State is stronger than Obama's endorsement in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, all states that he won in 2008.

Here's what PPP(D) found regarding whether voters in the following states were more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate that Obama endorsed:

More likely/Less likely to Vote for a Candidate Endorsed by Barack Obama

Illinois: 26/40
Ohio: 24/51
Penn: 22/50
Wisconsin: 19/50

So in other words, Governor Palin's endorsement in New Hampshire, a state that is allegedly a bad fit for her, is stronger than Barack Obama's endorsement in three states that he won in 2008. Also, her endorsement manages to persuade as many New Hampshire voters to vote for the candidate she endorses as the number of Illinois voters that persuaded to vote for a candidate because of Barack Obama's endorsement.

Think about that for a second. A Democrat pollster found that Palin's endorsement in a state that is allegedly a bad fit for her brings just as many New Hampshire voters to a candidate endorsed by her as the number of voters that Obama brings to a candidate that he endorsed in his home state of Illinois.

Any media outlet that cites the New Hampshire poll as authoritative without noting what I have cited here is failing its readership.

Anonymous said...

Rasmussen reported on 7/14 that Ayotte leads Hodes 49-37 amongst LIKELY voters, with Ayotte's very favorably/unfavorably ratings at 20/10 versus 20/35 for Hodes.

Say what you may about Rasmussen's SUPPOSED Republican bias, but frankly I trust them more than I do PPP's RATHER OBVIOUS Democratic bias. Than again too, we'll see come November who's numbers better jibe with reality. It should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

PPP is always horsebleep. Hodes is losing to all 4 repubs. Don't forget Binnie. He didn't get any endorsements. He's up eleven over hodes as well. He is surging against ayotte as well. Do not count him out.
You heard it here...

wt said...

@Dustin Ingalls: You may prefer that your blog commenters read all of your polls thoroughly before typing a single letter in the comments, but many won't, or, like me, will read many of the full polls but not all because of limited time.

The description of the poll in the original post clearly links Palin's endorsement with Ayotte's fall, and it seemed to me that the poll -- to make that kind of sweeping statement -- probably involved some actual data on the correlation to establish a causal relationship.

But no, I was wrong. As you note, the poll doesn't connect Palin and Ayotte at all, and the original post's logic is pure speculation. Ayotte's standing could be falling for any number of reasons unrelated to Palin's endorsement.

All of this is say that 1. the post gave the misleading impression that the poll had connected Palin and Ayotte; 2. I assumed that connection without reviewing the poll; 3. I am appreciative to PPP that the reality is different from my assumption; 4. it's time to give up wishing that all of your commenters will come to table with a thorough expertise in the most recent work you've done.

In any event, I'm one of this blog's nicest and most level-headed Republican commenters. Don't take out all of your frustration on me.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that you guys are being paid to bias your polls as others have suggested. But, time and time again PPP seems to come up with numbers that are sometimes so far out of sync with those being presented by other pollsters that it truly makes one wonder.

In addition, you and (particularly) Tom are so clearly (Democratically) slanted in your commentaries that your professional ethics and that of PPP becomes even more suspect.

Come November you guys may very well vindicate yourselves and have the last laugh. But personally, I don't think so.

Unlike any other election cycle in my lifetime, this November's elections will be so emotionally charged that I think that Republican voters are going to turn out in such large numbers (versus Democrats) that an awful lot of pollsters, including PPP, will be made to look like total and complete fools.

But we'll see - won't we?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"In any event, I'm one of this blog's nicest and most level-headed Republican commenters. Don't take out all of your frustration on me."

Yes, you are, and we appreciate your comments. I apologize for projecting my frustration onto you.

Anon, what are we coming up with that's so out of sync? Rasmussen has Boxer up 7; we have her up 9. The difference? Not much. Rasmussen has been the one with severe outliers, as usual. He, after all, had Rand Paul up 25 following the primary, as one example, and then suddenly brought him back down to earth in his next poll. Our polls tend to have much more stable, realistic movements.

Anonymous said...

Did you guys poll the Governors race? What about the House races? Thanks

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Did you guys poll the Governors race? What about the House races? Thanks"

Yes to the gov. race, out later today. No to the House races.

Anonymous said...

When I referred to your poll numbers as being so "out of sync" with other pollsters, I made no mention of the Boxer vs Fiorina Senate race in California. Besides, I certainly don't consider a 2% differential between your (PPP) poll and anyone else's to be worthy of debate.

Actually I do consider most of the numbers that you / Tom are reporting on, on behalf of PPP, to be quite reasonable and assumably accurate. Some though do seem a bit questionable, if not, in some cases, ridiculous. Throw in some rather provocative, liberally biased comments by Tom and all thoughts of credibility go straight out the window.

As for Rasmussen, I don't put total and complete faith in all of their numbers either. There exists far too much fluxuation in their polling numbers to be, in my opinion fully trustworthy.

But, at the same time I consider their "likely" voter and "very" favorable/unfavorable tabs, as being particularly important in this election cycle. I am one who tends to believe that the incredible amount of volatility surrounding this year's elections will profoundly impact their results come this November.

Much of what others, including yourself, are saying about Rasmussen; being an "outlier" or Republican biased in their polling results is, in my opinion, unwarrented, as well as being highly unprofessional. I say let your numbers and their's speak for themselves. That should be enough. Don't ya think?

Michael said...

DBL, you might want to check some facts before you assume that Massachusetts transplants, who represent the largest bloc of residents born out-of-state, vote Democratic. In fact, the demographics run exactly the opposite. The majority of Massachusetts transplants vote Republican, and the towns that are most reliably Republican are along the Massachusetts border and I-93 south of Manchester, the areas where most Massachusetts transplants settle. The fact is that New Hampshire has always been a state of a moderate, socially liberal, fiscally conservative majority. Most of these people voted Republican, which led to often liberal Republican state legislatures, but a few years ago they switched parties, which is why the areas in the northern part of the state, which have seen very few out-of-state transplants of any sort, are now the most reliably Democratic. New Hampshire would have actually switched from reliably Republican to reliably Democratic much earlier had it not been for Massachusetts transplants.

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