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Poll suggests more voters want to give someone else a shot rather than return Kuster to Congress

  • U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., listens to discussion during a roundtable with students, teachers, sexual assault counselors and women’s advocates at WISE in Lebanon on Monday, June 27, 2016. James M. Patterson / Valley News file



For the Monitor
Wednesday, May 02, 2018

While her campaign fundraising figures keep soaring, congresswoman Annie Kuster’s poll numbers aren’t as impressive.

A new Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll indicates that more Granite Staters think it’s time to give someone else a chance in the 2nd Congressional District than send Kuster back to Washington as she runs for re-election this year.

Kuster will face voters in November’s election, and according to the Saint Anselm survey, 32 percent of 2nd District voters said she’s done a good enough job to deserve re-election, but 45 percent said it was time to give someone new a chance.

As Kuster runs for a fourth term in the U.S. House, the Saint Anselm survey suggests Kuster is still viewed more positively than negatively, with 45 percent of Granite State voters saying they view her favorably, with 33 percent saying they have an unfavorable impression and 24 percent unsure.

That stands in contrast to a University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll released last week that indicated Kuster had a 27 percent to 33 percent favorable/unfavorable rating.

Both the Saint Anselm and UNH polls indicated that none of the three major Republicans running to take on Kuster are household names in the district, which covers the western part of the state, from the Massachusetts border north to the Canadian border.

Those candidates are state Rep. Steve Negron, a U.S. Air Force veteran and businessman from Nashua and Dr. Stewart Levenson of Hopkinton, a former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs regional director who in 2017 was one of the top whistleblowers at the Manchester VA Medical Center. Negron and Levenson launched their campaigns last year.

Former state representative Lynne Blankenbeker of Concord jumped into the race in January. Blankenbeker’s a U.S. Air Force and Navy veteran who was deployed to Oman and Kuwait during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a combat nurse and she’s currently a Navy reservist and part-time commanding officer of a 600-member medical unit in San Diego.

The vast majority of prospective voters in both polls said they didn’t know enough about the GOP candidates to form an opinion.

Republican Bob Burns, a former Hillsborough County treasurer who twice ran for the New Hampshire Executive Council seat in District 4, told the Monitor last month that he was setting up an exploratory committee as he moved closer to a congressional run in the 2nd District.

The Saint Anselm College poll was conducted April 21-25, with direct dial of validated, registered voters in New Hampshire.