August Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center Points to a Steady Political Environment

August 20, 2020

By Ann Canmann

The August poll by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) shows a remarkably stable political environment through this summer, with the popularity and job approval of New Hampshire’s elected officials remaining steady, and interest in the fall elections remaining very high. 

  • 88% of all voters are “extremely interested,” including 95% of Democrat voters and 85% of Republican voters;   
  • Joe Biden’s popularity (49% favorable/50% unfavorable) is inching up close to even, while President Donald Trump (41% favorable/58% unfavorable) remains steadily unpopular;   
  • Governor Chris Sununu remains very popular (67% favorable/31% unfavorable) and continues to earn high job approval through the COVID-19 crisis (73% approve/26% disapprove); 
  • Voters approve of the job Senators Jeanne Shaheen (53% approve/38% disapprove) and Maggie Hassan (50%/39% disapprove) are doing, while both Congressman Chris Pappas (43%-33%) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (47%-38%) are under 50% approval.

Full Results (PDF/ 411KB)

New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque remarked, “The selection of Kamala Harris was greeted favorably by Biden voters, with 76% reporting more confidence in his election chances with her on the ticket, while 70% of Trump voters believe Harris weakens Biden’s chances.  The net result is a small bump for Biden in voter preference, which he now leads 51%-43%, up from 49%-42% in June.  However, despite Biden’s lead, a slight plurality of voters (44.4%-43.6%) believe that Trump will prevail in November.”

Levesque continued, “New Hampshire voters traditionally start focusing on the general election soon after Labor Day. Although there is a high degree of voter interest already, the races will come into sharper focus once the parties have chosen their nominees in a couple weeks.  As stable as the political environment has been for incumbents so far, the races have yet to begin in earnest.”

These results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 1,042 New Hampshire registered voters expressing an interest in this fall’s elections for president, governor, and Congress. Surveys were collected between August 15 and 17, 2020, from cell phone users randomly drawn from a sample of registered voters reflecting the demographic and partisan characteristics of the voting population. For questions in which respondents were asked to select from a list of options (e.g. presidential preference), choices were presented in random order. Names for each of the favorability, job approval, and name recognition series were presented in random order. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3.0% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margins of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts or primary candidates are indicated in the marginal tables. The data are weighted for age, gender, geography, and education based on a voter demographic model derived from historical voting patterns, but are not weighted by party registration or party identification.

Founded in 2001, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College provides a nonpartisan forum for discussion and debate. It seeks to develop programming, and to foster scholarship and dialogue, encompassing a diverse range of political topics, opinions and issues. The institute serves as a resource for students, scholars, politicians, and the general public.