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Dartmouth Poll Shows Clinton Faces Stiff Competition From Republicans in NH

May 6, 2015

Republicans Scott Walker and Jeb Bush each lead Democrat Hillary Clinton among New Hampshire voters if the presidential election were held today, according to Dartmouth College's eighth annual State of the State Poll.

A PDF of the full poll report is available here.

Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, enjoys the strongest support against Clinton, 38.7 percent to 34.8 percent, as well at the highest approval rating among the state's independent voters at 40.5 percent versus 26.5 percent for Clinton, according to the survey of 335 registered New Hampshire voters conducted by Dartmouth students through the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.

A prospective contest between Bush and Clinton was closer, with the former Florida governor polling at 36.9 percent to Clinton's 34.1, with 34.3 percent of independents favoring Bush. But Bush made up a lot of ground compared with last year's State of the State poll when he trailed Clinton by 21 points. In nearly all the hypothetical match-ups, the percentage of undecided voters was consistently near 30 percent.

"If the Democratic primary field remains comparatively uncompetitive, Clinton will glide to a primary victory in New Hampshire as her core Democratic voter base is about as solid as one could hope for more than nine months from the New Hampshire primary,"  says Ronald Shaiko, a senior fellow and the associate director of the Rockefeller Center. "Her electoral success in November of 2016 in New Hampshire, however, is far from certain.  

"She has work to do in New Hampshire," says Shaiko, the survey’s director. The trend among independent voters in the poll could spell trouble for the Clinton campaign, he says. "In the seven trial heats, Clinton beats only Cruz and Huckabee among undeclared/independent registered voters in the sample by 8 points and 4 points, respectively.  In last year’s poll, Clinton beat Huckabee by 13 points among undeclared voters. She also beat Paul by 5 points, Christie by 3 points and Bush by 21 points. This year, Bush beat Clinton among undeclared voters by 9 points."

In head-to-head pairings against seven potential Republican candidates for president, Clinton has an 11 point lead against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and a small lead over declared candidates Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She is virtually tied with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In other topics:

  • President Obama’s job approval rating in New Hampshire remains constant at 34 percent from 2014, while his favorability rating rises to 35 percent from 28 percent in 2014.
  • A potential matchup for New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seat in 2016 shows a competitive race between incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D). Ayotte has a significant lead over former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.
  • New Hampshire voters largely hold both parties responsible for gridlock in Congress.

Ronald Shaiko is available to comment at Ronald.G.Shaiko@dartmouth.edu.

The Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College was founded in 1983 to commemorate the contributions of Nelson A. Rockefeller '30 to the life of the nation. The Rockefeller Center seeks to educate, train, and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders in all fields of endeavor through multidisciplinary education, public lectures by visiting scholars and dignitaries, skills training, and public policy-oriented research across the social sciences.

Last Updated: 7/28/15