Poll: Brown, Shaheen Dead Even in NH

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 11:00 AM

Should we even be surprised?

I don’t think so. A WMUR Granite State poll released several weeks ago was (among other things) an early indication that the race was tightening. In that survey, Brown trailed his opponent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), by only two percentage points. And while a more recent, CBS News/NYT/YouGov poll showed the incumbent enjoying a bit more breathing room, CNN’s latest offering should have Democrats worried:

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is slated to release a survey of its own later today, according to New Hampshire's local affiliate WMUR-TV. The survey will show their preferred candidate with an eight point advantage. But my hunch is that given the source of the poll, and how out-of-step it is with CNN’s findings, it’s probably an outlier:

This race is close. Why? Guy posited one plausible theory when the WMUR poll dropped last month:

[Brown's] been hammering on immigration for weeks now…Meanwhile, Terri Lynn Land is also running an immigration-themed ad up in Michigan. Someone, somewhere obviously believes the resonance of the border crisis as an issue isn’t limited to red states. To wit, when an in-depth polling memo from the NRSC landed in my inbox yesterday morning (hours before the WMUR poll was released), I was a bit surprised to see Shaheen featured as one of the incumbents listed as “primed for defeat.”

That is to say, voters in purplish, northern states are exceedingly concerned about the border crisis -- and the polls show it. This, then, may be the principle reason why an anti-amnesty candidate like Brown, who was trailing by double digits early in the campaign, is now making the race competitive.

In sum, we now have, at our fingertips, two relatively recent polls showing the race within the margin of error. One poll showing a tight race would, perhaps, be chalked up as an outlier; two is an unmistakable sign that this race is close.