EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 25, 2014

Shaheen keeps lead in polls over GOP rivals

Brown still a question in U.S. Senate race

As two Republican challengers plan campaign stops in Southern New Hampshire, incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., continues to show strong support in polls.

But for Shaheen opponents Jim Rubens and Karen Testerman, traveling to Londonderry and Pelham in the coming days, there is still hope.

Rubens points to recent University of New Hampshire polling numbers that show 81 percent of respondents admit they are still trying to decide who to support.

“That’s amazing,” Rubens said.

Shaheen is a former three-term governor now serving her first term in the U.S. Senate.

While the number of people uncommitted is significant, Shaheen has done well in polling matchups against potential GOP nominees.

UNH had Shaheen up 48 percent to 29 percent over Testerman and 46 percent to 32 percent over Rubens.

Scott Brown, meanwhile, the Republican former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, trailed Shaheen 47 percent to 37 percent.

Brown, who has a home in Rye, has created a great deal of speculation while leaving his intentions about the race unclear.

New polling from Public Policy Polling, on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters, showed Shaheen also ahead of Brown, 47 percent to 39 percent. That was up from a 3 percent lead PPP gave Shaheen over Brown a month ago.

“There are good numbers for Shaheen across the board,” said Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the league.

The league has targeted Brown in TV ads for votes in the Senate supporting oil industry interests.

Shaheen also held a 47 percent to 36 percent lead over former Republican Sen. Bob Smith in the UNH poll.

UNH political science professor Dante Scala said since the retirement of former Gov. John Lynch, Shaheen is the best known and liked politician in the state.

“She, like every other Democrat in New Hampshire, has taken a hit the last few months,” Scala said. “But she has been so durable for so long that it will take a prolonged, high intensity campaign to unseat her.”

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