We here at LGB haven’t recently covered the upcoming cage match between Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes, Dartmouth Class of 1972, and his Republican opponent, erstwhile New Hampshire attorney general Kelly Ayote.
Mr. Hodes decided last year to pursue the Senate seat being vacated by Judd Gregg in lieu of seeking reelection from New Hampshire’s second congressional district (which includes Hanover). But his prospects of winning that election have remained dangerously low.
This writer initially projected Hodes as the favorite, albeit narrowly, to win. As more polling data becomes available, your LGB staff will keep you posted on the latest trends. (The latest poll on this race comes from Rasmussen (500 likely voters, 4.5 percent margin of error) on August 5, showing Ayotte ahead by 13 points.) Needless to say, we will also be updating our assessment of the race.
As for now, the race certainly leans Republican. The Pollster.com running average has Ayotte ahead by nine points (47.5 percent to 38.5 percent). That leaves roughly fifteen percent casting votes for other candidates, or undecided. (In the aforementioned Rasmussen poll, 40 percent of the remaining voters leaned toward a different candidate, and 60 percent were undecided.)
Looking at the running average dating back to last June, neither candidate has made a big (statistically significant) jump. This writer initially expected Hodes's numbers to jump as his name recognition rose. Nathan Empsall '09, under the alias Blue Moose Democrat (who recently retired his eponymous blog to become a front-page writer for the national liberal blog MyDD.com), shared that opinion, commenting last year:
[R]emember that Ayotte has state-wide name recognition, whereas Hodes only has CD-02. By this time next year, the name recognition scheme will be very different.As name recognition has steadily risen, so too has the vote share for both candidates. That’s bad news for Hodes, who needs to vastly expand his share to win. Considering the current political climate, that is unlikely.
But anything can happen. Stay posted, as will we.