Scott Brown Is Actually Polling Not So Horribly in New Hampshire

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 23 2013 3:55 PM

Let Scott Brown Run

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John Kerry, Lance Armstrong and Scott Brown gather at the startling line of the 2011 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge on August 6, 2011 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images

Public Policy Polling asks New Hampshire voters whether they'd elect former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, if he went for it. They wouldn't, right now, but isn't this a surprisingly close result?

According to a polling memo shared with POLITICO, Brown trails [Democratic Sen. Jeanne] Shaheen by 11 points, taking 41 percent to the incumbent’s 52 percent. Seven percent of voters in the poll were undecided.
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Brown’s personal favorability numbers are tepid: 37 percent of Granite Staters said they have a favorable view of him, while 42 percent said they have an unfavorable view.

That's... really not a horrible first test. In Massachusetts, where Brown's actually from, he got 46 percent of the vote in a 2012 Senate race. Brown scores better than some actual New Hampshire politicians, including two former members of the state's congressional delegation. (New Hampshire only has two House seats, so serving in that body means representing half the state.)

Brown's one successful statewide campaign, in 2010, was predicated on two pitches. Number one: He was an ordinary guy from Wrentham, Mass., and he owned a truck. (I suppose that's two things.) Number two: He would stop the passage of the Affordable Care Act. He couldn't use that first elevator pitch in New Hampshire, but he could certainly run as a generic Republican moderate who'd undo as much of the Obama record as he could. Why shouldn't he? Imagine that Brown was a really effective chemical engineer, or something, got laid off in Wrentham, and saw a competitive job opening in Dover, New Hampshire. Would anyone blink? The insistence that states be represented by people who've done time in the states is a particularly American obsession; people in parliamentary democracies switch constituencies all the time, with the strongest candidates getting the districts easiest to win.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.