New Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows Competitive 2022 Elections Shaping Up

March 31, 2022

By Ann Camann

A new poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center (SACSC) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) finds 68% of New Hampshire registered voters now believe the country is on the wrong track, down from 74% reported in our January poll. 21% believe it is headed in the right direction.  This political environment has led to slightly improved job approval for incumbents.  However, approval of President Biden’s handling of the economy remains unchanged.  58% of voters disapprove of the job Biden has done on the economy against 40% who approve, unchanged since January.  A plurality of 32% blame high inflation on Biden.

President Joe Biden’s job approval has increased slightly to 43%-57% from 41%-58% in January.  Governor Chris Sununu has recovered from his career low and is now at 62%-36%.  Senator Jeanne Shaheen has improved slightly and is now at 48%-47%; Senator Maggie Hassan is at 46%-49%; Congressman Chris Pappas is at 43%-42%; and Congresswoman Annie Kuster is at 42%-45%.

Governor Sununu starts with a strong lead in his re-election campaign.  Sununu is the only incumbent that enjoys ballot strength over 50%, and leads in a hypothetical matchup against his only announced challenger, State Senator Tom Sherman, 51%-24%.

Hassan’s ballot strength in hypothetical match-ups averages 44%, up 2 points from January; however, her potential opponents’ ballot strength averages 36%, up 7 points from January.  2020 candidate Don Bolduc continues to be the best known of the field with 70% name recognition and 45% of voters having an opinion of him. Bolduc also holds Hassan to the tightest margin at 5 points, 44%-39%.

Despite improved job approval, Congressman Pappas and Congresswoman Kuster have become somewhat more vulnerable to a strong challenge.  46% of 1st Congressional District voters believe that it is time to give someone new a chance, up from 45%, while 53% of 2nd Congressional District voters believe that it is time to give someone new a chance, up from 50%.  Pappas’ floor of support is up slightly, with 38% believing he deserves re-election, while Kuster’s remains unchanged at 33%.  However, new congressional districts have yet to be adopted.

New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque summarized the results, saying, “Voters have become somewhat more optimistic since our last poll in January, which has led to improved job approval for all incumbents.  Potential challengers are relatively unknown, but most of the top races are likely to become competitive as voters pay increasing attention.  As always, campaigns and candidate quality matter.”

Full Results (PDF)

Results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 1265 New Hampshire registered voters. Surveys were collected between March 23 and 24, 2022 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 the job approval series and the Senate ballot test.

The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 2.8% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margin of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts are 3.8% for the 1st Congressional District and 4.0% 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.