October 22, 2013


Anne Kuster ran for Congress twice-- both times as a grassroots progressive and both times with super-prioritized support from progressive organizations both in New Hampshire and nationally, despite having worked as a Big Pharma lobbyist. In 2010, she lost her first race, 48-47% against conservative incumbent Charlie Bass. Two years later, in the 2012 rematch, and with President Obama's coattails in play, Kuster beat Bass 50-46%. She joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus and there were no obvious reasons to think she wouldn't be the progressive champion she painted herself to be in her two campaigns.

But then a pattern started emerging from her voting record, both on the Agriculture Committee, where she voted with the Republicans to deregulate banksterism in regard to derivatives, and overall, where she tended to follow the advice of the DCCC to go the Republican-lite route on all economic and financial questions. A few months after joining the Progressive Caucus, she quit and joined both the conservative and corrupt New Dems-- a perfect place for former and future lobbyists-- and Patrick Murphy's United Solutions Caucus.

New Hampshire voters are starting to recognize the mistake they-- and all of us on the progressive side-- made. A new poll from WMUR shows growing dissatisfaction with the duplicitous Kuster. Following Steve Israel's advice to rebrand herself as a New Dem is not paying off among Democrats in a blue district. NH-02, essentially the western part of the state, has a PVI of D+3, prohibitive territory for the modern Republican Party. Obama won there in 2008 (56%) and last year (54%). His 190,413 votes helped pull Kuster over the winning line (169,275 votes). But even without him on the ballot, Kuster, who has a no-name Tea Party opponent, isn't likely to lose next year. Unless Democrats stay away from the polls to protest her GOP-lite approach to governance.

The contrast with Carol Shea-Porter is unavoidable. Shea-Porter, a far more independent-minded congresswoman, represents the much redder part of New Hampshire (PVI is R+1 and Obama only scraped by with 50% of the vote last year). But Carol, unlike Kuster, has stayed true to everything she campaigned on-- despite having to fight a likely rematch with former Rep. Frank Guinta. It's why Blue America picked Carol as one of our two-- and only two so far-- progressive incumbents in need of help this year. It's worth mentioning that the Republicans are probably going to have a bitter primary battle in NH-01. Guinta is a dyed-in-the-wool, tri-corner-hat teabagger and he publicly backed the government shutdown. He's also a vicious homophobe and anti-choice fanatic. His opponent, University of New Hampshire business school dean Dan Innis, is married to a man, says abortion is between a woman and her doctor and did not back the government shutdown. Now, back to that Granite State Poll.

The WMUR Granite State Poll shows that in the 1st Congressional District, 42 percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., compared to 28 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

The survey of 330 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center by landline and cellphone from Oct.7-16 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.

In the 2nd Congressional District, the picture isn't as good for U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H. The poll shows that 23 percent have a favorable opinion of her, while 28 percent do not.

...Two Republican challengers have declared their intent to run against Shea-Porter: former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta and former UNH Business School Dean Dan Innis. The poll shows Guinta is the better known candidate but also the least liked.

The poll shows 24 percent have a favorable opinion of Guinta, compared to 34 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Innis is viewed favorably by 7 percent and unfavorably by 2 percent. The rest don't know enough about him to say.

In the 2nd District, former state Sen. Gary Lambert is the only Republican to have declared a challenge to Kuster. The poll shows that he's not well known, with 5 percent of adults having a favorable opinion of him and 4 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Despite Lambert being a virtual unknown, the poll shows him in a tie with Kuster, with both having 33 percent support.

The survey shows that Democratic support could be a problem for Kuster, with 62 percent of likely Democratic voters saying they would support her if the election were held today.

Maybe Kuster should go ask Steve Israel to explain that to her and explain why he led her down the garden path. Meanwhile, this weekend another Granite State Poll was released showing Carol Shea-Porter's lead growing against either of the Republicans while confirming that Kuster has damaged herself with the base. The results are an obvious repudiation of Steve Israel's insistence that freshmen abandon core progressive values in order to appear more conservative.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter enjoys double-digit leads over potential Republican challengers a year before the 2014 election for Congress in New Hampshire’s First C.D. In the 2nd District, Congresswoman Ann Kuster continues to struggle with poor favorability ratings and name recognition and is in a dead heat with relatively unknown Republican challenger Gary Lambert.

…Democrat Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter is increasingly popular in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, a seat she held from 2007 to 2011 and regained in 2013. Currently, 42% of 1st District adults have a favorable opinion of Shea-Porter, 28% have an unfavorable opinion, 7% are neutral, and 22% don’t know enough about her to say. Her net favorability rating, the percentage who have a favorable opinion of her minus the percentage who have an unfavorable opinion, is +14%. She is very popular among Democrats (net +56%), Independents are divided (net +1%), and she is unpopular among Republicans (net -30%).

The two declared Republican challengers for the 1st District seat are former Congressman Frank Guinta (R-Manchester) who held the seat from 2011 to 2013 and former UNH Business School Dean Dan Innis (R-Portsmouth).

Guinta is the better known of the two, reflecting that he ran in 2010 and 2012, but is also the least liked. Currently only 24% of 1st C.D. adults have a favorable opinion of Guinta, 34% have an unfavorable opinion of him, 8% are neutral and 34% don’t know enough about him to say. His net favorability rating is -10%. Guinta is modestly popular among Republicans (+27%), Independents are neutral (net +3%), and he is very unpopular among Democrats (net -45%).

Innis is not well known in the 1st District. Currently, only 7% have a favorable opinion of Innis, 2% have an unfavorable opinion, 6% are neutral and 85% don’t know enough to say. His net favorability is +5%.

In a trial heat between Shea-Porter and Guinta, 48% of likely 1st District likely voters support Shea-Porter, 32% support Guinta, 1% support someone else and 18% are undecided.

If Dan Innis were the Republican nominee, 43% of likely voters support Shea-Porter, 32% support Innis, and 25% are undecided.

In New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District, first term Congresswoman Ann Kuster’s favorability ratings continue to remain low. Currently, only 23% of 2nd District adults have a favorable opinion of Kuster, 28% have an unfavorable opinion of her, 9% are neutral, and 40% don’t know enough about her to say. Her net favorability rating is very low for an incumbent, -5%. She is only modestly popular among Democrats (net +30%), but is unpopular among Independents (net -15%) and very unpopular among Republicans (net -42%).

…Despite being unknown, Lambert and Kuster are currently tied in the race. If the 2014 Congressional election were held today, 34% of likely voters in the 2nd District say they would vote for Lambert, 33% would vote for Kuster, and 31% are undecided. “Kuster is currently vulnerable,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center. “Typically, an incumbent with less than 50% support is in for a tough fight, but an incumbent below 40% is in real trouble.”

A significant problem for Kuster is that only 62% of likely Democratic voters say they would vote for her if the election were held today.

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