New Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows Democratic incumbents standing with voters is weak and Republican challengers even weaker

October 4, 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 the political environment remains poor for Democratic incumbents with 69% of voters believing the country is on the wrong track, deteriorating slightly from 68% in August.  President Biden’s image has improved slightly, but is still underwater at 44%-54% favorable.  Senator Hassan’s and Congressman Pappas’ images are also underwater at 48%-51% and 47%-48% respectively, while Kuster’s is slightly better than even at 48%-46%.

Despite these challenges, Democrats now hold a slight lead on the generic ballot, 48%-46%, following the outcomes of the September 13th primary. Republican candidates for federal office begin the general election campaign at a disadvantage, all three having a net negative favorability rating: Senate nominee Don Bolduc is underwater at 41%-51% while 1st Congressional District nominee Karoline Leavitt is at 39%-45% and 2nd Congressional District nominee Robert Burns is at 26%-27%.

Incumbents also lead their challengers among undeclared voters.  49% of undeclared favor Hassan while 41% favor Bolduc. Pappas leads Leavitt among undeclared 51%-29%, while Kuster leads Burns 47%-43%. 

Governor Chris Sununu meanwhile is in a strong position for re-election. Sununu currently holds a commanding 16-point lead (50%-34%) on the gubernatorial ballot.  45% of voters have no opinion or are unfamiliar with Democratic challenger State Senator Tom Sherman.

New Hampshire Institute of Politics executive director Neil Levesque summarized the results, saying, “The bad news for Democratic incumbents is that their standing with voters is weak.  The good news for Democratic incumbents is that their Republican challengers are even weaker.  As we’ve been noting throughout the year, candidates and campaigns matter, and the tough and experienced Senator Maggie Hassan and Representatives Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster have made good use of the primary election period to shore up their support and define the battleground on which the general election will be fought.” 

Full Results (PDF) 

Results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 901 New Hampshire likely voters. Surveys were collected between September 27 and 28, 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 candidate image and the ballot test series. 

The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3.3% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margin of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts are 4.9%.  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.