Scott Brown closing in on Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire: Poll

In this file photo, Scott Brown formally announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate April 10, 2014 at Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Darren McCollester, Getty Images

Don't count Scott Brown out of the New Hampshire Senate race just yet.

After a string of polls throughout the summer showed Brown trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a survey released Thursday showed Brown trailing Shaheen by only two points, 46 to 44 percent.

The poll, from the University of New Hampshire and WMUR, could breathe new life into Brown's campaign, which began with a bang in April when he announced his bid but faltered as polls showed Shaheen with a comfortable lead.

A UNH/WMUR survey last month, for example, showed Shaheen ahead of Brown, 52 to 40 percent, and a CBS News/New York Times/YouGov survey in July showed the incumbent ahead by 10 points, 52 to 42 percent.

The results of the New Hampshire race could very well determine which party controls the Senate in the next Congress. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November to secure the majority.

James Pindell of WMUR said the new poll marked "one of the most important days" of the race thus far.

"For much of the year, this race appeared to be slipping away from Scott Brown, but now he's back and within the margin of error," he said.

Shaheen's team brushed off the results, projecting confidence that the incumbent would eventually prevail."We've been ready for a competitive race since day one and we are running the kind of grassroots campaign that New Hampshire deserves," said campaign manager Mike Vlacich in a statement.

And Brown's campaign, for its part, was careful not to crow too openly about the latest numbers.

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

Brown, who previously represented Massachusetts in the Senate, has drawn a number of Republican bigwigs to New Hampshire to stump on his behalf, including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the party's 2008 standard-bearer.

Before he can officially take the fight to Shaheen in the general election, Brown must face a group of long-shot primary challengers on September 9. He's expected to secure the nomination easily.

The UNH/WMUR poll surveyed 827 New Hampshire adults between August 7 and 17, and it carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. Results compiled from the 609 likely voters in the sample carry a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

  • Jake Miller

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