FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Binnie fades but Ayotte still the clear leader
New Hampshire apparently tries to hard in Presidential years to have its primaries first, that it tires and has to have its Senate primaries last. So we’re still on primary watch for that state, and it looks like the Republican race has shifted again.
Kelly Ayotte still leads the primary race to decide Democrat Paul Hodes’s opponent, but it appears the race for second is wide open now.
Before the big news was that Bill Binnie, from the left wing of the Republican Party, had surged and become the clear second place opponent to Ayotte. But according to Magellan Strategies, he’s back in third, with Ovide Lamontagne, self-described true conservative of the race, back in second: Ayotte 34, Lamontagne 21, Binnie 17, and Jim Bender brings up the rear at 13 (MoE 3.3).
Binnie’s unfavorables are way up now, and he’s at -24 net with a 30 favorable/54 unfavorable rating now. Meanwhile Ayotte rides high with +20 for 54/34, and the lesser known Lamontagne also sits at +20 38/18.
What I find most interesting is that Republicans and Independents support Bender and Lamontagne by the same amounts, but Binnie takes 10 points from Ayotte when looking at the likely Independent voters in the primary, nearly making the race a tie in that subset.
It’s clear, then, that independents may still approve of Bill Binnie, but Republicans increasingly do not, and Republicans seeking an alternative to Ayotte are apparently turning to Ovide Lamontagne instead. That said, it’s still Kelly Ayotte’s show right now.