The latest poll in the New Hampshire Senate race, released last week, shows Republican Scott Brown surging into a statistical tie with Dem Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The WMUR Granite State Poll shows incumbent Shaheen leading Brown by two points, 46-44, within the polls margin of error. In July, Shaheen was leading Brown by 12 points.
Shaheen, who is still fairly popular, is weighed down by Obama’s continuing unpopularity. Just 37% of voters in New Hampshire approve of his job performance. Shaheen has also been dragged down by Brown’s relentless campaigning against amnesty and the Obama Administration’s disjointed response to the southern border crisis. For the last month, Brown has pounded Shaheen on the issue.
Voters, it seems, can distinguish between the general support for the concept of “comprehensive immigration reform” and concern about unsecured borders and blanket amnesty awarded by presidential fiat. At a time when an Ebola pandemic and heightened terrorist activity dominates the news, the issue of a secure national border becomes existential.
In the poll, Brown dominates the population-rich Massachusetts border area of New Hampshire. He leads Shaheen here by 18 points. The Democrat does best in the northern part of the state, where Brown is less well known. Brown also leads Shaheen among voters who have less than a graduate degree. He leads among high school graduates, those with some college, and those with a bachelors degree. This education fault line is deepening between Republicans and Democrats.
New Hampshire has a very late primary. Brown is not yet the Republican nominee and faces two opponents in the September 9th primary. Brown is likely to get a polling boost after the GOP primary. On current trends, Brown is likely to open a slim lead as the race reaches the final stretch.
The New Hampshire Senate race was not supposed to factor into the Democrats’ battle to keep control of the Senate. If New Hampshire flips, there could be a number of other states that surprise in November.