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Sorry, Scott Brown: The Granite State Seems Happy With Its Senator

Scott Brown has announced that he’s forming an exploratory committee for a possible Senate run in  New Hampshire, his newly adopted home state.

But if Brown, a Republican, decides to run, he will face tough odds against the seat’s current occupant, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. She’s a rare example of a popular Democratic senator in a swing state. The latest Boston Herald/Suffolk University survey gave Shaheen a 13 percentage-point advantage, which matches a January WMUR University of New Hampshire Granite State poll pegging Shaheen’s lead at 10 points.

Indeed, there is little evidence that voters want to replace Shaheen. People like her. Shaheen’s net favorable rating is +16 points. Compare that with endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, whose net approval rating is -9 points.

But forget Shaheen’s strength; Brown is weak. His net favorability, an average -10 points in the two polls, shows that more Granite Staters dislike him than like him. In fact, Brown’s net favorable ratings are lower than every other GOP contender included in the January UNH poll. A less famous but more well-liked nominee might give Shaheen a stronger challenge.

Brown would bring some star power to the race, and his effort to become a senator from two states is intriguing. But so far, the polls say a Brown-Shaheen contest might be more about celebrity than competitiveness.

Harry Enten was a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight.