Republicans in good position for N.H. Senate seat, poll shows

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 28, 2010, 10:40am


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes is falling behind most of his potential Republican challengers in the race for U.S. Sen. Judd Greg's seat, according to poll results released Tuesday.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey, 40 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the representative.

On Monday, New Hampshire's Republican Party asked state Attorney General Michael Delaney to investigate whether Hodes conducted polling aimed at spreading negative information about his Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte.

Party spokesman Ryan Williams said the complaint was in regards to phone calls last week that asked what the GOP considered to be questions designed to elicit a negative response.

The callers asked whether voters would be more or less likely to vote for Ayotte if they knew she ignored or failed to pursue a now-closed New Hampshire mortgage firm at the center of a Ponzi scheme when she was attorney general.

Hodes has run ads hammering Ayotte for not pursuing the case.

According to Tuesday's poll results, Hode falls behind the most popular Republican candidates, Ayotte and Bill Binnie. Ayotte leads Hodes 45 to 42, and Binnie is ahead of Hodes 46 to 41.

Only 26 percent of New Hampshire voters and 23 percent of Republicans have yet to form an opinion of Ayotte, according to the poll results. Forty-one percent of voters have no opinion of Binnie, her closest competitor, including 36 percent of Republicans.

Ayotte earlier this month scored a high-profile endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Palin, on her Facebook page, approved of Ayotte, calling her the state's "mama grizzly."

Among those less popular GOP candidates, Hodes fares better but doesn't do well, the results show. The Congressman is statistically tied with Republican Jim Bender and leads Ovide Lamontagne 43-38.

"Things may change for Paul Hodes once New Hampshire enters the general election," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, in a statement. "But for now it seems like the Republicans have done a good job of using the primary to their advantage."

The polling company, based in Raleigh, N.C., surveyed 900 New Hampshire voters from July 23 to 25. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3.26 percent. The company noted that other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

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