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Poll: Brown Pulls Nearly Even With Shaheen in N.H.

Poll: Brown Pulls Nearly Even With Shaheen in N.H.

By Scott Conroy - August 21, 2014

Scott Brown is back in the ballgame.  

The former Massachusetts senator had appeared to be fading in his bid to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, but a new poll shows that the race is now up for grabs.  

In the WMUR/UNH survey released Thursday night, Shaheen led Brown by 46 percent to 44 percent, which is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. 

This latest numbers show a dramatic swing in Brown’s direction from the previous WMUR/UNH poll, which was conducted a month-and-a-half earlier and showed Shaheen leading Brown by 12 points.  

According to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, Shaheen leads Brown by 6.6 points.

National Republicans will be buoyed by the new poll, which indicates that the race is within Brown’s reach.

In order to net the six seats required to retake the Senate, Republicans do not have to win New Hampshire. But if Shaheen does end up losing her re-election bid, the odds that the Democrats will retain control of the upper chamber will decline precipitously.  

In a statement released after the survey’s results were released, Shaheen campaign manager Mike Vlacich said that the incumbent has been “ready for a competitive race since day one.” 

“Jeanne Shaheen is still leading all of her potential opponents because Granite State voters know and trust her,” he said.  

But it is clear that momentum has shifted in Brown’s direction.  

After a shaky start to his campaign, Brown has received significant positive press this summer in winning the endorsement of Mitt Romney and being joined on the campaign trail this week by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has twice won the New Hampshire presidential primary and remains a GOP favorite in the state.  

In order to secure the nomination, Brown must first defeat his two Republican opponents -- former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens -- in the Sept. 9 primary.  

He is heavily favored to do so, and the new WMUR poll showed Shaheen leading both Smith and Rubens by 14-point margins in hypothetical general election matchups.  

The poll of 827 New Hampshire adults was conducted Aug. 7-17.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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