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Robertson Least-Liked Hopeful, N.H. Poll Finds

November 07, 1987|CATHLEEN DECKER | Times Staff Writer

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former television evangelist Pat Robertson is the least popular candidate in New Hampshire in the last 15 years, according to a new poll of Republican voters likely to cast ballots next February in the first primary of the presidential campaign.

Of the 455 likely voters surveyed in the poll by University of New Hampshire political scientist David Moore, a whopping 56% had an unfavorable perception of Robertson, and only 9% thought favorably of him.

"Indeed, he is the most unpopular major candidate to run for political office in New Hampshire at the federal, state (or) congressional level in the past 15 years," Moore said in an explanation of the poll.

The poll, conducted for television station WMUR here, showed Vice President George Bush and Kansas Sen. Bob Dole edging further in front of the other GOP candidates, with Bush the favorite of 50% of the voters and Dole supported by 22%.

Robertson's New Hampshire field director, Vern Hickey, chose to interpret the poll optimistically, noting that 80% of New Hampshire voters recognized Robertson in the October poll, up from 52% in a January survey. He suggested that the unfavorable rating reflected voter uncertainty that could be turned around by face-to-face campaigning.

"In our own polling, they are soft negatives," he said. "Now, it's just our job to get him out there in front of people and get them to know him."

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