EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 3, 2013

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

2014 campaign

(Continued)

UNH pollster Andy Smith declared Kuster vulnerable, after numbers gave Gary Lambert a 1 point lead and showed her favorability rating at minus-5.

“Gary’s been on the campaign trail and is working hard,” Breton said.

Scala acknowledges Kuster is a first-termer who has work to do for name recognition and voter approval, but he said the district leans Democratic, and Gary Lambert also must work to become better known.

State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, long touted as potential candidate for higher office, also is a possibility but polls haven’t tested her strength.

New England College had Kuster in much better shape for reelection, holding a commanding 20-point lead over Gary Lambert.

Tafoya said mid-term elections typically favor the party out of power, in this case Republicans, because they control only the House, not the presidency or Senate.

But polling isn’t reflecting that early this cycle.

“Right now we don’t see that,” Tafoya said. “But things can change. A year is a very long time in an election cycle.”

Scala agrees.

“If the economy takes a sudden downturn, for example, or the president’s approval numbers crash, and stay down, because of Obamacare’s troubles, that will have an effect on New Hampshire’s races,” Scala said.

“A year is a long time, particularly with those Congressional seats,” Spiliotes said.

“The Obamacare thing is something that could take a toll,” Spiliotes said.

He’s not seeing what he calls a great year ahead for Democrats, but thinks they are in a better place today than the Republicans.

“The Democrats seem in great shape,” he said.

Democrats hold the incumbent’s advantage in all the races, Scala said.

“They are better known to voters, for instance, and they can raise money more easily,” he said.

Republicans, meanwhile, still have a fundamental debate ahead of them, with tension among conservatives, represented by the tea party faction, and those considered more moderate, Spiliotes said.

At the grassroots, Breton expects Republicans will work it out.

“Republicans are all conservative at heart,” he said.

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