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UNH Survey Center: NH Senators Remain Popular; Public Divided About House Members

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
May 11, 2011

New Hampshire’s U.S. senators continue to be popular among Granite Staters, but First Congressional District residents are split on their opinions of Rep. Frank Guinta, and Rep. Charlie Bass is now seen unfavorably by residents of the Second Congressional District.

These findings are based on the latest WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the UNH Survey Center. Five hundred four (504) randomly selected New Hampshire adults were interviewed by telephone between April 15 and April 26, 2011. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.4 percent. Included was a subsample of 243 adults in the NH First Congressional District (margin of sampling error +/-6.2 percent), and a subsample of 257 Second Congressional District adults (margin of sampling error +/-6.1 percent).

Despite maintaining a low profile in recent months, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s popularity has remained remarkably stable since she was elected. In the most recent Granite State Poll, 48 percent of New Hampshire adults view her favorably, 36 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her, and 16 percent are neutral or don’t know enough about her to say. Shaheen’s net favorability rating, the percentage that have a favorable opinion of her minus those that have an unfavorable opinion, is a modest +12 percent. Shaheen is viewed very favorably by Democrats (net +74 percent), but is viewed unfavorably by Independents (net -3 percent), and very unfavorably by Republicans (net –48 percent).

Newly elected Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte has had a very slight decline in her favorability ratings in recent months. Currently, 49 percent of New Hampshire adults have a favorable opinion of Ayotte, 25 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her, 8 percent are neutral, and 19 percent don’t know enough about her to say. Ayotte’s net favorability remains strong at +24 percent, down slightly from +31 percent in February. Ayotte is less polarizing than Shaheen -- her net favorability among Republicans is +73 percent, +16 percent among Independents, and -18 percent among Democrats.

First Congressional District residents are split about recently elected Republican Congressman Frank Guinta. Currently, 31 percent of First Congressional District adults have a favorable opinion of Guinta, 26 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 43 percent are either neutral or don’t know enough about him to say. Guinta’s net favorability rating is +5 percent, down from +8 percent in February. Guinta’s net favorability ratings continue to show him to be very polarizing -- among Republicans he rates a relatively low +50 percent, a low -4 percent among Independents, and -41 percent among Democrats.

Opinions of Second Congressional District Republican Charlie Bass have shifted sharply in recent months. Currently, only 29 percent of Second Congressional District residents have a favorable opinion of Bass, 45 percent have an unfavorable of him, and 26 percent are neutral or don’t know enough about him to say. In February, Bass was viewed favorably by 41 percent of Second Congressional District residents, while 28 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him. Bass’ net favorability rating is -16 percent, down from +13 percent in February. His net favorability ratings among Republicans are the lowest amongst all Republican Congressional delegation members at +16 percent, and he is seen unfavorably by independents (-12 percent) and very unfavorably by Democrats (-43 percent).

For complete tabular results, visit http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/news/pdf/gsp2011_spring_congapp050511.pdf

The UNH Survey Center has conducted survey research projects at the University of New Hampshire since 1976. The center has grown rapidly during the past 30 years and now conducts approximately 40 to 50 major survey projects each year. More information: http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/about.html.

 


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