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Jeanne Shaheen leads Scott Brown in new poll

The poll, by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, showed Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a former three-term governor, remains a popular figure.

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The poll, by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, showed Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a former three-term governor, remains a popular figure.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat who is gearing up for a tough reelection fight, leads all potential Republican challengers, although Scott Brown, who officially entered the race Thursday, would be the most formidable opponent, according to a new poll.

The WMUR Granite State Poll showed Shaheen edging Brown, the former Massachusetts senator, by 45 percent to 39 percent, with 14 percent undecided.

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Former senator Bob Smith would pose the next strongest challenge to Shaheen, trailing her 48 percent to 34 percent. The other two Republicans in the race — State Senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman — lag further behind.

The poll, by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, showed Shaheen, a former three-term governor, remains a popular figure, with 49 percent of respondents saying they had a favorable opinion of her, and 35 percent an unfavorable view, a 14 percent difference. That is a slight drop from the last poll in January, when the spread was 16 points,

Brown is viewed unfavorably, although he has the most name recognition in the GOP field. About 29 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Brown, while 39 had an unfavorable. The rest were either neutral or said they didn’t know enough about him to have formed a view.

The poll of 507 randomly selected New Hampshire adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.
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