Poll: Shaheen: 50%; Brown: 41%

Posted: Mar 17, 2014 2:15 PM

Let’s check in on the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire, shall we? Last Friday, after months of speculation, ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) announced he’s basically back -- that is to say, he will almost certainly contest another U.S. Senate seat for the third time in four years, albeit this time in a different state.

As Roll Call notes, if he defeats his Republican opponents in the primary in September -- and wins the general election two months later -- Brown would be celebrated as only the third politician in U.S. history to represent at least two states in the upper chamber. As a matter of fact, no one has represented at least two states in the upper chamber since the late-nineteenth century:

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., announced Friday he is preparing to run for Senate in New Hampshire, kicking off a nearly unprecedented bid to represent a second state in the Senate.

Brown’s decision, unveiled in a speech at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H., comes 16 months after he was defeated for re-election in the neighboring Bay State by Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the race (the findings of which were released today) shows incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) with a comfortable, nine point edge; but it’s important to note that the poll was conducted well before we had any confirmation Brown would even enter the race:

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown announced Friday that he is laying the groundwork for a possible challenge against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, but Shaheen is comfortably ahead of Brown for now in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the possible U.S. Senate race in the Granite State.

A new statewide survey of Likely New Hampshire Voters finds Shaheen with 50% support to Brown’s 41%. Four percent (4%) like some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

I suspect Brown might get a bit of a boost in the next round of polling. His foray into the race will pique some interest in his candidacy, and give him some much-needed media coverage in New Hampshire. After all, as the Boston Globe editorializes, Brown is not well-known in the state. And thus, he’s going to have to earn every vote -- and take nothing for granted -- if he wants to unseat his Democratic opponent:

“Who is Scott Brown?” shrugged Kyle Demers on Saturday morning over his breakfast at the Red Arrow diner in Manchester, a perennial stop on the presidential campaign trail.

Demers is not alone in his unfamiliarity with Brown. A poll conducted in late January by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found 27 percent of New Hampshire adults did not know enough about Brown to have [an] opinion of him. Thirty-eight percent had an unfavorable opinion of him, according to the survey, while 27 percent held a favorable view.

The majority of New Hampshire voters interviewed Saturday did know Brown’s name. But most Granite State residents said they were prepared to wait and see how Brown conducts his campaign and where he stands on key issues before making up their minds.

As more voters get to know him, Brown may have to walk a winding road between the widely disparate views they expressed Saturday.

The article also notes that charges of carpetbagging were widespread in New Hampshire last weekend. For his part, one resident summed up the race rather nicely:

“For all the hoopla about Scott Brown, it really depends first and foremost whether voters want to fire Jean Shaheen,” Scala said. “She’s better-known than Scott Brown in the state, and better-liked.”

This is why Team Brown must exploit Sen. Shaheen’s vote for Obamacare, a law 53 percent of respondents “oppose” according to a poll conducted in New Hampshire last month. But it’s going to take a lot more than simply running on -- and espousing -- an anti-Obamacare agenda to win the election; New Hampshire voters need to know, trust and understand the candidates for whom they support.

All of which is to say, Scott Brown’s got his work cut out for him. And it's time to get to work.

Editor's note: This post has been updated for clarity purposes.

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