Republican Scott Brown leads incumbent Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire by five points in a recent poll obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. The poll, commissioned by the Republican Governor's Association, was conducted on March 19 and 20 and asked 600 likely voters in New Hampshire who they would vote for in the U.S. Senate election. Respondents were given both Brown and Shaheen's names and their respective parties.

According to the poll, 36 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts, while 13 percent said they would "probably" vote for him, bringing his total support to 49 percent. The same poll found 37 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Shaheen with 6 percent saying they would "probably" vote for her, with a total of 44 percent in support of the incumbent Democrat. Seven percent said they did not know who they would vote for.

Shaheen, a one-term senator who also served as governor of the small New England state, appears to be a known quantity: 48 percent say they approve of her (higher than Brown's 41 percent), but 43 percent say they disapprove of her (also higher than Brown's 36 percent).

The RGA poll is the first to show Brown with a lead. According to the Real Clear Politics poll average, Shaheen has a nearly 8-point lead, and the seat leans Democratic.

For several months, polls have shown Brown making the New Hampshire race a competitive one. He announced an exploratory committee last month and will formally announce his candidacy for the Senate on Thursday. In 2010, Brown won a special election to the Senate in his home state of Massachusetts, riding a wave of support from conservatives nationwide and running as an opponent of the pending Obamacare legislation. He lost reelection in 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

New Hampshire's senior senator, Shaheen was first elected in 2008 over Republican incumbent John E. Sununu. She was one of several freshman Democratic senators to vote for Obamacare. A February poll showed 53 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the health care law.

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