WASHINGTON – Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is trailing Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan by nearly double-digits in a race that could potentially determine which party controls the U.S. Senate come January, according to a recent poll released on Thursday .
The WMUR Granite State Poll shows that 46 percent of the respondents favored Hassan compared with 38 percent who preferred Ayotte. Three percent said they favored third-party candidates and 13 percent said they had not yet made a decision of whom to support.
The sampling included 770 potential voters and was carried out Oct. 11-17. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Ayotte, a moderate Republican, who has offered tacit and inconsistent support to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was previously leading Hassan by a small margin in most recent polls.
New Hampshire was considered one of the swing-states that represented a potential pickup for Trump due to the chronic dissipation of Granite State manufacturing jobs but most recent polls show Clinton with a double-digit lead.
Since 1992 Democrats have carried New Hampshire in every presidential election with the exception of 2000, when Republican George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore.
The state has a history of electing moderate Republicans to the U.S. Senate such as late former senator Warren Rudman, who represented the state in the nation’s upper chamber for more than a decade and was widely respected on both sides of the aisle.