Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte continues to hold a double-digit lead over Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes in the race for U.S. Senate in the Granite State.
The Aug. 5 Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 500 likely voters in New Hampshire shows Ayotte, a Republican, earning 51 percent support, her best showing to date, while Hodes picks up 38 percent of the vote. Four percent like some other candidate in the race, and 6 percent are undecided.
A month ago, Ayotte posted a similar 49-to-37-percent lead over Hodes. In five previous surveys stretching back to February, Hodes’ support has remained in the 35-to-39 percent range, while Ayotte has captured 46 to 50 percent. Ayotte’s GOP primary challenger, businessman Bill Binnie, also remains ahead of Hodes but by a narrower 46-to-40 percent margin.
Before the latest survey, Ayotte and Binnie, who has poured millions of his own money into extensive television advertising, have been running neck-and-neck. But during the past month, Ayotte gained the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Palin, and Binnie has been put on the defensive about his conservative credentials. New Hampshire Republicans will pick their Senate nominee from a seven-candidate field in a Sept. 14 primary. Hodes is unchallenged for the Democratic nomination.
The candidates are running for the seat now held by retiring GOP Sen. Judd Gregg. New Hampshire is rated leans GOP in Rasmussen’s Balance of Power rankings.
Ayotte runs slightly stronger than Binnie among the state’s GOP voters. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Ayotte leads Hodes by a 59 percent to 25 percent margin. Binnie also leads the Democrat but by a narrower spread.
Almost 70 percent of voters in the state view Ayotte as a conservative, while 53 percent say the same of Binnie. Meanwhile, 55 percent consider Hodes liberal.
Almost 55 percent consider Ayotte’s views as being in the mainstream, but 23 percent think her views are extreme. Similarly, 51 percent rate Binnie’s views as mainstream and 22 percent as extreme.
New Hampshire voters are more closely divided over the views of Hodes, a two-term congressman: 41 percent say he’s in the mainstream, but 39 percent think his policy positions are extreme.
More than 20 percent view Ayotte very favorably and 12 percent, very unfavorably.
For Binnie, 16 percent consider him very favorably and 12 percent, very unfavorable.
Almost 25 percent have a very favorable opinion of Hodes, but 31 percent regard him very unfavorably.
At this stage of the campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the very favorable and very unfavorable figures more significant than the overall favorability totals.
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