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2014 Election News

If the election results over the last several cycles are any indication, New Hampshire voters seem to have trouble settling on a particular party.  Focusing on the Senate and House elections here over the last seven cycles, the Granite State has given one party or the other a clean sweep in each and every election.  The chart below shows New Hampshire's remarkably consistent track record of partisan wavering.
New Hampshire Voting Since 2002
Year Senate House CD1 House CD2
2012   DEM DEM
2006   DEM DEM
2000   GOP GOP
Looking at the chart, a clear pattern arises which suggests that 2014 should see another partisan flip.  This time back to the GOP.  Indeed, the historical data might induce a degree of anxiety in incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat.  But, as that famous financial disclaimer attests, "past results do not guarantee future performance."

In Sen. Shaheen's case, a welcomed bit of partisan consistency appears likely for her in November.  After winning and serving three terms as New Hampshire's governor from 1997 through 2003, Shaheen entered the 2008 Senate race against incumbent Republican John Sununu.  That year turned out to be a very good election for Democrats nationwide, and the former governor bested the incumbent by just over six points to claim a Senate seat takeover for the blue team.

Six years removed from that blue wave election and six years into an Obama presidency hobbled by low approval numbers, the climate would seem ripe for the seat to flip back to the Republicans.  However, bolstered by high favorability numbers, Shaheen is not as vulnerable as one might expect.  Early polling gives her substantial leads over former Sen. Bob Smith and several other Republicans who have entered the race for the GOP nomination.

But the most intriguing figure, by far, on the Republican side hasn't yet declared his candidacy.  In fact, he just moved in from neighboring Massachusetts. Former Bay State Sen. Scott Brown made headlines last month when he became a new resident of the state.  His move has fueled rampant speculation that he has designs on Shaheen's Senate seat.  Polls show him within a few points of her, far closer than any of her other potential Republican opponents.

We'll have to wait and see what Brown decides to do, but for now, Shaheen must be considered a strong favorite to hold the seat for Democrats.  If Brown jumps in, however, he would likely diminish Shaheen's advantage and could bring this seat into play.

Preliminary projection:  Strong DEM Hold

You can track this race throughout the 2014 election season here at Election Projection by visiting the New Hampshire Senate Election page for polls, projections and updates.  Also, check out the 2014 Senate Elections page for a summary of all Senate races on tap in 2014 complete with EP's colorful red and blue Senate map.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:30pm 01/13/14 :: link
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