New UNH poll: Most approve of Hassan; Legislature also popular

Last modified: Thursday, August 01, 2013
Gov. Maggie Hassan remains popular more than six months after taking office, with 58 percent of New Hampshire residents saying they approve of the job she’s doing, according to a new poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Only 18 percent said they disapprove of Hassan, a Democrat who took office in January, according to the WMUR Granite State Poll, which was taken July 18-29 and surveyed 516 New Hampshire adults, with a 4.3 percent margin of error.

The 40-point split for Hassan’s approval rating in the poll released yesterday was identical to UNH’s last poll, in April, which found 51 percent of residents approved of Hassan while 11 percent disapproved.

In the new poll, 45 percent of residents said they believe Hassan should win a second term next year. Only 25 percent said they’d prefer someone else as governor, and 30 percent said they didn’t know.

Two potential Republican challengers remain largely unknown, according to the poll: 79 percent said they had no opinion of Sen. Chuck Morse of Salem, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and 75 percent said the same of Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford.

The Legislature, which is split between a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate, is popular at the moment. Some 51 percent of voters said they approve of the Legislature’s work, versus 29 percent who disapprove.

Hassan’s predecessor, Democrat John Lynch, left office in January after an unprecedented four two-year terms as New Hampshire’s governor. A UNH poll last fall found 70 percent of residents approved of the job he was doing as governor, versus 20 percent who disapproved.

In July 2005, about half a year after he took office, 61 percent of residents said they approved of Lynch’s job performance versus 12 percent who said they disapproved, according to a UNH poll at the time.

Two years earlier, in June 2003, a UNH poll found 53 percent approved of the job being done by Republican Craig Benson, versus 25 percent who disapproved. Lynch denied Benson a second term by defeating him in the 2004 election.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)