New Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center finds declining support for New Hampshire’s delegation

June 17, 2021

By Ann Camann

A new poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center (SACSC) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) finds voter concerns moving away from President Joe Biden’s strengths to areas where he is considerably weaker. 

As more people are vaccinated and start resuming their normal daily routine, COVID-19 is receding as an issue of importance to voters. Voters are worried about structural economic issues: 83% are very or somewhat worried about inflation, while 77% are very or somewhat worried about the national debt. 

Of six areas tested by our recent poll, a majority of respondents rated Biden’s handling of only one issue as excellent or good: COVID-19. 39% rated Biden’s handling of the epidemic as excellent, 12% as good, 17% as fair, and 31% as poor. A majority of respondents rated Biden’s handling of the remainder of the areas tested as only fair or poor. 55% rated his handling of environmental issues as fair or poor, with similar attitudes for race issues (57%); national security and foreign affairs (57%), economy (58%), and cost of energy (60%). 

Although government spending was cited by the most voters as their top concern, the cost of health care scored the highest by average. New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque stated “This is an issue that has been perennially near the top of the list of voters’ concerns, and one that has been a traditional area of strength for the Democratic Party.” 

President Biden’s job approval has fallen since his inauguration with a very slight plurality (49.4%-49.3%) disapproving of the job he is doing. In SACSC’s February poll, Biden’s job approval (53%-45%) was identical to his margin of victory in New Hampshire. 

Levesque continued “As the President’s job approval and overall strength erodes, voters are becoming more pessimistic and this pessimism is exerting downward political pressure on the party in power.” 

The generic congressional ballot is now at the closest margin (44% Democratic – 43% Republican) representing a significant deterioration in the political environment for the Democratic Party. The Democratic lead in the generic ballot has shrunk 7 points since March (48%-40%). 

Members of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation are getting pulled down toward the generic ballot. 

Job approval is down 3-5 points for each member of the delegation since March. Senator Jeanne Shaheen is down 4 points to 47% approval; Senator Maggie Hassan is down 4 points to 43% approval; Congressman Pappas is down 3 points to 42% approval, and Congresswoman Kuster is down 5 points to 43% approval. 

Governor Chris Sununu remains popular as voters are relatively optimistic about New Hampshire’s future. Sununu’s job approval stands at 68%-30%, a slight improvement from March (67%-31%). 

Levesque summarized by saying, “Election Day is a long ways away, and we can expect a rebound for Democratic officeholders as the important of individual issues continues to wax and wane.” 

Full Results (PDF/1.2MB) 

Results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 921 New Hampshire registered voters. Surveys were collected between June 9th and 11th, 2021 from cell phone users randomly drawn from a sample of registered voters reflecting the demographic and partisan characteristics of the voting population. Names were presented in random order for each of the political leader series (e.g. job approval). Issues were presented in random order for the 

issue matrix question and for the presidential handling series. 

The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3.2% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margin of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts are 4.4% for the 1st Congressional District and 4.7% for the 2nd Congressional District. 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.