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New Hampshire: Ayotte Maintains GOP Senate Primary Edge

Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte continues to lead in the race for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R).

A poll conducted July 23-25 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed Ayotte favored by 47 percent of GOP voters, compared with 14 percent for the next-closest challenger, businessman Bill Binnie.

The poll of 450 registered Republicans had a margin of error of 5 points.

The survey followed Ayotte’s endorsement by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), a development that didn’t impress the state’s largest newspaper.

“The race will be won by the candidate who impresses New Hampshire voters, and New Hampshire voters are rarely impressed by what outsiders have to say,” New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid wrote in an editorial.

PPP said it found that the Palin endorsement “negatively impacted the opinion of almost a third of Republicans and over half of all New Hampshire voters.”

“Ayotte did not need Palin’s endorsement to secure the nomination,” PPP President Dean Debnam wrote. “With over 50 percent of New Hampshire voters less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Palin, Ayotte may pay for the former Alaska governor’s endorsement during the general election.”

Ayotte campaign spokesman Jeff Grappone said, “Kelly is running as hard as she can, regardless of what the pollsters and pundits say.”

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