The big, scary to Republicans headline over at Hotline is Ayotte’s Unfavorable Ratings Rising in UNH Poll.
I’m sure it’s true, but that’s what happens in contested primaries such as the one right now for Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate race. Right now, Bill Binnie’s fans don’t like Kelly Ayotte much, her fans don’t like him much.
Anyone could have predicted polling shifts like this one in the Granite State Poll of the University of New Hampshire for WMUR. This is exactly what one would expect to see as Ayotte and Binnie trade blows from now to the primary. Hotline points out that Ayotte’s unfavorable ratings have doubled. Yes, that’s true, but when she was only disliked by 14% of the state, and her favorable ratings were approaching triple that at 39%, a doubling isn’t exactly a catastrophe for her.
So now Ayotte’s favorability split stands at 38/28, so she hasn’t actually lost many fans since Binnie surged. She’s just gotten some Binnie fans (or possibly even some Paul Hodes fans watching the other side’s primary) starting to dislike her.
So despite this highlighted doubling of Ayotte’s unfavorability ratings, she still leads Bill Binnie in the new PPP poll 47-14 (Margin of Error 4.81). She also leads Paul Hodes in the UNH/WMUR general election matchup 45-37 (MoE 4.6), which are not the numbers of a collapsing candidate, but rather the signs of a still-leading frontrunner in both the primary and the general.
I’m sure Democrats will still be heartened to see that Kelly Ayotte is not made of teflon and is starting to gain detractors, but the longer she hovers near 50, the more likely she is to be able to gain an outright majority of support in the state, ending the hopes the Democrats have of picking up this seat in a Republican year.