Like Karen Handel here in Georgia, Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been endorsed as a “Mama Grizzly” by Sarah Palin in Ayotte’s campaign for the GOP Senate nomination.
That endorsement is likely to help Ayotte considerably in the primary, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. In their survey conducted July 23-25, 48 percent of New Hampshire conservatives said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Palin, while 18 percent said a Palin endorsement would be a turnoff.
Last week, I questioned how much credit Palin should be given for pushing Handel to her first-place finish in the Republican gubernatorial primary here in Georgia (Handel still faces an Aug. 10 runoff with Nathan Deal.) The polling results out of New Hampshire suggest that I might have been mistaken — Palin may indeed have been a difference maker.
However, if you dig a little deeper into the PPP crosstabs, you find that Palin’s endorsement cuts both ways. Overall, 51 percent of NH voters say that a Palin endorsement would make them less likely to vote for a candidate, while just 26 percent say a Palin endorsement would make them more supportive. Among self-described NH moderates, just 14 percent see a Palin endorsement as positive, while 65 percent see it as a problem. And according to PPP, moderates make up 47 percent of the NH electorate.
In April, well before the Palin endorsement, Ayotte’s favorable/unfavorable numbers among NH independents stood at 35/23. By last week, they had fallen to 33/38. Ayotte still has a lead over Democrat Paul Hodes, but according to PPP it has closed from 47-40 in April to 45-42. (As of July 12, Rasmussen put Ayotte up over Hodes by 49-37%.)
PS: Here’s the gender breakdown on the effect of a Palin endorsement question:
…….More likely……Less likely