EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 15, 2012

Close NH races to attract more voters

New Hampshire candidates will have their eyes set on tomorrow’s second presidential debate.

The rematch between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney comes with polls showing closely contested races at the top of the ballot for president, governor and Congress.

Analysts agree Obama had a poor first debate that produced a polling bounce for Romney.

In New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire Survey Center polling had Obama up by 15 points before the first debate. Afterward, UNH numbers released last week dropped the lead to six, with Democrat Obama at 47 percent to 41 percent for Republican Romney.

The governor’s race remains in doubt, too.

Republican nominee Ovide Lamontagne led Democrat Maggie Hassan, 34 percent to 30 percent, with 34 percent undecided. The UNH poll concluded the race is “still up in the air” with the number of undecideds rising.

Republican 1st Congressional District incumbent Frank Guinta surged to a lead over Democratic former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, 40 percent to 33 percent. Shea-Porter had built an 11-point lead prior to the first presidential debate.

Democrat Ann McLane Kuster led Republican 2nd Congressional District incumbent Charles Bass, 35 percent to 32 percent.

The up-the-ballot contests matter to candidates down the ballot because they can affect enthusiasm among both voters and campaigns.

Rep. Norman Major, R-Plaistow, is hoping Romney performs as he did in the first debate.

“It was excellent, a great debate,” Major said. “He has to stay as communicative to people as he can so they understand he worries about them. He’s dealing with people, not companies, and he’s got to convey that.”

Major, an eight-term representative, is confident his own 46 years of public service and volunteer work in the community will be the real difference for his re-election bid despite the high stakes in the national debates.

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