New Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center shows Hassan’s ballot strength stabilizing as Sununu’s weakens in the face of his declining job approval

October 26, 2021

By Ann Camann

New Poll by Saint Anselm College Survey Center shows Hassan’s ballot strength stabilizing as Sununu’s weakens in the face of his declining job approval. 

A new poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center (SACSC) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) finds Senator Hassan beginning to show some resilience in this increasingly polarized political environment, rebounding in a hypothetical ballot matchup with Sununu from a 9-point deficit in August (49%-40% Sununu) to a 5-point deficit today (46%-41%).

Sununu continues to receive high marks for his handling of COVID, with 71% of voters approving of the job he’s done on this front.  Despite that, his overall job approval continues to deteriorate and now sits at 56%-42%, down from his 2021 high of 72%-27% in our February poll.  This decline is driven primarily by partisan polarization as New Hampshire continues to move past COVID. In February, Democratic voters approved of Sununu’s job performance 56%-42%.  Today, Democratic voters continue to approve of his COVID performance by almost the same percentage (56%-41%), but now disapprove of his overall performance by a wide margin (73%-25%). 

President Joe Biden’s job approval has stabilized from its summer decline, and now sits at 44%-56%, similar to our August poll when it was at 44%-55%.  The generic congressional ballot has also stabilized, remaining unchanged since August at 46%-43% in favor of Republicans.

New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque stated, “That’s the only good news for incumbents, however, as 68% of voters now believe the country is on the wrong track against only 21% that believe it is on the right track.  Any voter optimism occasioned by the election of Biden has all but dissipated. The entire Congressional delegation is now underwater on their job approval, with Senator Jeanne Shaheen closest to even at 46%-48%.  Senator Maggie Hassan has continued her slide and now sits at 44%-50%.  Congressman Chris Pappas (42%-46%) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (40%-46%) are in negative territory for the first time in the history of this poll.”

Support for a vaccine mandate has slid from 50%-47% in August to 46%-52% today, and now faces majority opposition.  At the same time, the percentage of voters who say they will get a booster shot as soon as it is available has declined from 52% to 46%.

In budget politics, a plurality of voters (40%) believes that neither the $1 trillion infrastructure bill nor the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better Act” should be passed, versus 30% that believe that both should be passed. Voter concern about inflation has declined substantially, with 61% extremely or very worried, down from 83% in our June poll.

“The 2022 election cycle continues to be very dynamic as incumbents weather stiff political winds. With challengers already raising money, the next few months are likely to see the field beginning to take shape,” Levesque concluded.

Full Results (PDF/ 770KB)

Results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 1323 New Hampshire registered voters. Surveys were collected between October 20-22, 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 the job approval series and the Senate ballot test.

The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 2.7% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margin of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts are 3.7% for the 1st Congressional District and 3.9% 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.