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« Committee Politics | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Losing My Religion »

Lynch A Cinch?

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch won re-election in 2006 by a nearly three-to-one margin, boosting his Democratic Party so much that it took back the state legislature for the first time in almost 100 years and won both the state's congressional seats. A new poll out today suggests the second-term governor could be in for another big win this November.

The Granite State Poll, taken 4/25-30 by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, surveyed 456 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 5%. After Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta said he would not run for the governor's mansion, Lynch is left facing State Senator Joe Kenney.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Lynch 68 / 89 / 44 / 65 / 67 / 69
Kenney 17 / 3 / 36 / 9 / 19 / 15

Lynch is viewed favorably by a hefty 74% of Granite State voters, and the same number approve of his job performance as governor. And while a vast majority of the national public sees the country as headed off on the wrong track, 65% of New Hampshire voters say their state is headed in the right direction.

Plus, any time a candidate is beating his or her opponent by eight points among their opponent's own party, the challenger has a pretty steep, and likely impossible, climb. Republicans have a likely strong candidate in Guinta, if he decides to run a few cycles down the road, but for now, Lynch looks like a safe bet for re-election.

If he wins by a similarly large margin as he did two years ago, Lynch could hurt Republican candidates down the ballot. When Democrats swept to power, they did so after promising to eliminate the ability to pull one party's lever, requiring people to vote on each contest individually. That eliminates at least some of the coattails Lynch will have, but if the top of the statewide ticket wins by a massive margin, that will swing a few percentage points away from incumbent Senator John Sununu and candidates running against the two freshmen Democratic House members.

Then again, the best friend Sununu and others have this year will be John McCain, who is hugely popular in the state. In a duel of coattails, that might give the Republican Senator, who trails former Governor Jeanne Shaheen in all recent public polls, at least one reason to hope.