|Photos from left to right courtesy of Just Jared, Gretyl Macalaster, and Marc Nozell. Apologies for not being able to resist the gratuitous shirtless Scott Brown pic.
Given recent stories of New Hampshire GOP weariness regarding the now announced Scott Brown Senate bid, it's hard to believe there was a time when the pick-up truck driving, common-man type was a source of great Republican pride. After all, how could the establishment, or the Tea Party for that matter, begrudge the man who wrestled away the Senate seat held by liberal lion Ted Kennedy for five decades, in a state with a partisan bent like Massachusetts?
But a stinging, if not anticipated loss to Elizabeth Warren and the Democratic presidential turnout machine in 2012, on top of less than inspiring polling numbers against his new Democratic opponent Jeanne Shaheen, have caused the former model/attorney to lose a bit of his luster. Most recent surveys of the 2014 Senate battle find Brown trailing Senator Shaheen by around 10-pts or more. However, he's got three other headaches to contend with beyond the simple fact he's losing.
First of all, his polling trend lines do not look good. After a strong month in January (when he trailed Shaheen by an average of 44-40% across four surveys), Brown now trails by an average 50-39% (in four surveys taken since February). He's also lost ground among various demographic and political groups. Consider the chart below:
|Polling used in the average can be found at Huffington Post's Pollster.
Brown went from leading among New Hampshire voters aged 18-45 years old by three points in January, to trailing with this group by eleven points in February/March. He held Shaheen to an eleven point advantage among women in January, though her advantage has now doubled to twenty-two points. Brown's lead among men dropped, while Shaheen's lead with >46 year olds and Independents grew slightly. The only positive trend for Brown from January to February/March was his numbers among Republicans, which improved from January ever-so-slightly.
The second headache for Brown? Not only is he trailing Shaheen, but he's WELL behind where his would-be Senate colleague, Kelly Ayotte (R) was polling at this point in 2010, and is failing to hit crucial markers reached by Mitt Romney in 2012. Granted, Brown has nearly impossibly large shoes to fill if he hopes to recreate Ayotte's landslide 60-37% victory over Paul Hodes (D) during the last Republican wave. But for the record, she was leading Hodes by double-digits before the Spring of 2010. Brown hasn't led a poll against Shaheen yet, at least not according to the Huffington Post or Real Clear Politics.