Could New Hampshire Bring Republicans to 54 Senate Seats?

There are some things I am still not sold on when it comes to election day.

I am not quite sold on Lee Zeldin’s chances in the New York Governor’s race. Nor am I sold that Patty Murray in Washington is at risk of losing her seat. I can’t bring myself to be that optimistic on either right now.


I think Georgia goes to Walker without a run-off. I think Adam Laxalt wins in Nevada, and I think Kari Lake is strong enough to fully bring Blake Master’s across the line. That’s 52 seats right there, which is where most predictions seem to be leading. The fourth swing state in the equation is Pennsylvania. There has been a major shift toward Mehmet Oz, and that could very well keep the seat in Republican hands.

But there is a fifth swing seat that, prior to 2022, I am not sure people would have considered. And, prior to October, I don’t think people expected it to be near as close as it is right now. That seat is New Hampshire.

There has been a total collapse in the polling for that race, with a poll out today putting Maggie Hassan behind her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc. Here’s the RealClearPolitics graph showing how the race has tightened.

30 day trend lines for New Hampshire Senate. (Credit: RealClearPolitics)

The most recent poll, from St. Anselm, has Bolduc up by one point. My college Bonchie covered that poll yesterday, and it’s pretty telling. It’s the first poll to show him up. Trafalgar, the firm I’ve started to rely on a bit more this cycle, last polled New Hampshire at the end of September and had Hassan up by 3 points.

In most states, Hassan would be enjoying a certain sense of relief right now because early voting in most states tends to favor the Democrats. But, New Hampshire has limited early voting.


The one metric that matters the most, however (Generic Congressional Ballot) has shifted 4 points towards Republicans in two months’ time (from 46-44% Dem/Rep to 47-45% Rep/Dem), and that shift has similarly shown up in individual Senate races. There are currently five tossup races. Four of them are currently held by the Democrats (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire – New Hampshire has literally tightened in the last few weeks, and New Hampshire has minimal early voting).

The bottom line: while Democrats have a 50-50 tie in the Senate, polling averages since October 24 show Republicans ahead in 49 seats, while Democrats are ahead in 46 seats. Republicans just need to win 2 of these 5 tossup races, while Democrats need to win all 5 to take actual numerical control of the US Senate.

To think that New Hampshire is a tossup race is pretty astounding right now, but that is currently a testament to just how much the Democratic Party as a whole has collapsed over the last two months, and especially so in the last two weeks.

Election 2022 New Hampshire
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

There isn’t a whole lot of data to go on, but there have been signs over the last two years that Hassan herself was worried about her chances of holding the seat. While Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin were the face of the “moderate” Democrats, there were plenty of whispers that Senators like Hassan and Mark Kelly were quietly thankful that those two were standing up to the far left and also doing so publicly so they didn’t have to.


Likewise, Hassan really did avoid taking some of the extreme positions her colleagues in Congress were taking. She was not out in public the way others were. She was concerned enough to avoid controversy, but things have turned so sour on the Democrats that even staying out of the spotlight hasn’t been enough to keep her safe.

That the Republicans are making a solid play for it is telling. That Democrats have had to move money to Washington to help Patty Murray (who is still very likely to win re-election) is also telling. But the fact that New Hampshire is in play, Washington needed boosting, and Republicans are even making a very solid play for New York’s governor’s mansion are all big signs that we have shifted from a wave to an apocalyptic event.

What’s more, it’s the way the polls have shifted that are so devastating for Democrats. From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

The GOP has seen a shift in its favor among several voter groups, including Latino voters and women, and particularly white suburban women. That group, which the pollsters said makes up 20% of the electorate, shifted 26 percentage points away from Democrats since the Journal’s August poll and now favors the GOP by 15 percentage points.

That’s a demographic shift that validates the GOP’s message over the last weeks of the election season. It’s all about crime, economy, and immigration. In that order. Crime alone is a major issue for those white, suburban women. These are voters deeply concerned for their household and family safety and security, and an increase in high profile crime waves and inflation has created a lot of stress for them and their families. They are more than willing to vote for Republicans to help sort those things out, even if they normally vote Democrat otherwise.


And because the Democrats have largely ignored those issues, they have shown themselves to those voters as aloof and unconcerned with their needs. So they will reject them in favor of the other side.

That is what makes this a doomsday event. That’s what puts New Hampshire in play.


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