NH IOP poll: Bolduc inches ahead of Hassan

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Nov. 2—MANCHESTER — For the first time in their race, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Don Bolduc has inched ahead of Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, according to in an independent poll released Tuesday.

Karoline Leavitt, the Republican nominee in the 1st Congressional District, opened up a 6-point lead over incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas in the same survey from the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Democratic 2nd District Rep. Annie Kuster held on to bigger leads over their challengers, according to the poll.

Statistically, the poll had the Senate race as a tie since Bolduc's lead, 48% to 47%, was within the poll's margin of error of 2.5%.

On Tuesday afternoon, Real Clear Politics changed its forecast for the Senate race to be a "GOP Pick Up." The political news service still describes the race as a "toss up" but changed its prediction.

Leavitt's lead — 51% to 45% — was bigger, but it too was within the margin of the 1st CD portion of survey which was plus or minus 3.5%.

Sununu led Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Sherman, 55% to 37%. Kuster's lead over Republican nominee Bob Burns was 50% to 42%.

"In the closing stretch of this election, Republican candidates have gained the momentum and are in a position to score some upsets," said Executive Director Neil Levesque in a statement.

The survey last Friday and Saturday was of 1,541 likely voters with cellphones.

"Polls are snapshots of voter attitudes in time, not predictions. Candidates will have the opportunity to make their final arguments in this week's closing days of this election," Levesque said.

Burns suffers from low name recognition, but Levesque said that race too could further tighten in the final days.

Compared with a month ago, Levesque said, the survey found a 10% jump in voter enthusiasm among those who consider themselves Republican and a 2% decline for Democrats.

Some Democratic observers said conducting a poll only with cellphone users could limit the number of seniors who could have taken part, hurting their candidates' showings.

The timing of the survey over a weekend could also lead to questionable results from young voters, they said.

For example, the survey found Bolduc leading Hassan, 56% to 41% among those 18 to 34 years old, a result counter to other independent polls of that demographic group.

klandrigan @unionleader.com