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UNH poll: Hassan popular, Legislature less unpopular than before

New Hampshire residents think Gov. Maggie Hassan did an okay job during her first month in office, and they’re less negative about the performance of the Legislature following Democratic gains in last year’s election,

That’s according to the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which polled 581 adults in the state between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5. The survey has a margin of error of 4.1 percent.

According to the poll, 38 percent of residents approve of the way Hassan, a Democrat, is handling her job, and only 6 percent disapprove. Most people – 56 percent – are neutral or said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.

That’s about the same as the numbers for her two predecessors in the governor’s office after their first month in office. Republican Craig Benson had a 43 percent approval rating, with 13 percent disapproving, in February 2003. Democrat John Lynch had a 43 percent approval rating, with 6 percent disapproving, in February 2005.

Some 48 percent said they have a favorable opinion of Hassan, compared with 7 percent who view her unfavorably, 16 percent who are neutral and 28 percent who said they didn’t know.

As for the Legislature, 43 percent said they approve of the way it’s doing its job, about the same as the 42 percent who said so in mid-October. But the number of people who say they disapprove of the Legislature has dropped from 45 percent to 30 percent.

Democrats took control of the House in November and gained seats in the Senate, where Republicans retain a majority.

In general, the survey found optimism in the state, with 64 percent saying the state is headed in the right direction versus 26 percent who think the state is on the wrong track.

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