Scott Brown nearly catches Jeanne Shaheen in new poll


Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) right and former Republican senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown acknowledge supporters as they arrive on stage for a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is running neck and neck with likely Republican challenger Scott Brown in a new poll released Thursday that came as a surprise to close watchers of the race.

The WMUR survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, shows Shaheen leading Brown by just two points, 46 percent to 44 percent. That's within the poll's margin of error and much tighter than the 52-40 percent advantage Shaheen held last month.

After launching his campaign to heavy fanfare, Brown has appeared to fade in recent months, with numerous surveys showing Shaheen up comfortably. While it's just one survey, from a pollster that has shown swings before, the new numbers could draw fresh attention from donors and strategists to a contest that has fallen off the national radar a bit in recent weeks.

"We've been ready for a competitive race since day one and we are running the kind of grassroots campaign that New Hampshire deserves," Shaheen campaign Manager Mike Vlacich said in a statement.

Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said, "The polls are going to go up and down, but Scott Brown will continue working hard, holding town hall meetings, taking his message directly to the people and earning every vote."

New Hampshire is one of the last states to hold its primary election. Brown is expected to sail past lesser known Republicans on Sept. 9.

The WMUR poll was conducted from Aug. 7-17, a longer period than many surveys stay in the field. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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