EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 3, 2013

Polls give N.H. Democrats the edge heading to 2014

2014 campaign

A year out from the 2014 mid-term Election Day, Democrats in New Hampshire are eager to get to the ballot box.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, both Democrats, have high approval ratings and wide leads over potential Republican challengers.

The polls are less clear about the prospects in the state’s two Congressional districts, but Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., is showing early strength.

Democrats aren’t cocky, however.

“None of us are being complacent,” Danville Democratic chairman Sarah Gannon-Weston said.

“There is going to be a lot of work.

The Republican field atop the ballot is less settled, and questions about primaries and primary outcomes abound.

Some of the questions are about whether the former senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, will take a run at Shaheen, one of New Hampshire’s political legends.

Others are about whether the Republican Party will nominate a married gay candidate, Dan Innis, to take on Shea-Porter.

University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala said he doesn’t have a crystal ball but knows there’s one thing Republicans can control and that is their candidates.

“That’s where they are lacking at this point,” Scala said.

“What happens down ticket if at the top of the ticket Gov. Hassan wins easily against a token opponent?” he asks.

Windham GOP chairman Bruce Breton is one who dismisses the polls and sees Republican victories as something that are attainable in 2014.

“I think they can mount winning campaigns if they stick to the issues,” Breton said.

“Gov. John Lynch was always strong in polling but came close to losing his seat,” Breton said.

Gov. Hassan’s numbers resemble those of Lynch.

University of New Hampshire polling recently gave Hassan a plus-43 percent approval rating. She even had a plus-13 favorability rating among Republicans.

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