Poll: Ayotte leads Hassan in NH Senate race
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Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyottePoll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat  Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate MORE (R-N.H.) leads her Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, a new poll released Thursday shows, despite an awkward debate flip-flop over whether she considers Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE a role model.


Ayotte has 47 percent support to Hassan's 41 percent, the Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll found.

Ayotte raised eyebrows during a Monday night debate when she said she would "absolutely" consider Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, a role model for her children.

She later took back the remark, but Hassan's campaign seized on it with a TV ad focusing on the gaffe, and other Democrats have piled on.

The poll was taken between Monday and Wednesday, so some responses came before the debate incident and some came after.

The New Hampshire race is considered a toss-up and crucial to control of the Senate. Democrats need to flip five seats — or four if they keep the White House — to win control of the upper chamber.

Both Ayotte and Hassan have seen their popularity among the public decline, the poll found.

Ayotte's favorability rating is 48 percent — down 6 points from a 2014 version of the same poll.

And Hassan's favorability is 42 percent, down from 50 percent in 2014.

“Here you also have two well-known candidates and a low undecided,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, Hassan’s unfavorable rating is almost equal to her favorable rating which is a significant change from her past popularity ratings.”

The poll of 500 likely voters was taken Oct. 3–5. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.