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Sununu's Xmas Gift

Republicans in New Hampshire have had little to cheer for lately. In 2006, the party lost both chambers of the legislature for the first time since 1911, along with two members of Congress while the incumbent Democratic governor won a higher percentage of the vote than any governor in the state's history. For 2008, things looked bad for Senator John Sununu.

Sununu faces a difficult re-election against his 2002 opponent, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen. In every poll so far, Shaheen has led, often by wide margins. Until now. A new American Research Group poll, conducted 12/16-19, gives Sununu a reason to smile. The poll surveyed Sununu and Shaheen among 558 registered voters.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Sununu 52 / 13 / 93 / 48 (+11 from last, 9/07)
Shaheen 41 / 79 / 4 / 41 (-5)

ARG pollster Dick Bennett, who has conducted polls for some Republicans in the state, says he expects Democrats to flock more to Shaheen, closing the race, and suggests Sununu's strength is overstated. Still, the poll is great news for the beleaguered incumbent, though the poll gives Shaheen confidence: President Bush has an approval rating of just 22% in the state, meaning any attempt to tie Sununu to the White House could hurt the GOP.

Republicans, stung in 2006 when Democratic Governor John Lynch won re-election with 73%, may push Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta to run for the state's top job next year. The same poll shows Guinta trailing, but holding Lynch under the crucial 50% mark.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Lynch 48 / 79 / 15 / 52
Guinta 32 / 6 / 63 / 26

Guinta is no stranger to uphill battles. In 2005, he surprised Democratic incumbent Bob Baines to win election in Manchester, an upset few expected. At just 37 years old, Guinta has a long future ahead of him. If he runs against Lynch, the Republican would start off as the underdog, though Lynch would not have an easy race.