Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) holds only a 3-point edge over former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in a hypothetical challenge to her 2014 reelection bid, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
Although Brown has not declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination, PPP found Shaheen at 46 percent and Brown at 43 percent among New Hampshire voters, with independent voters evenly split between the two.
Voters were split on Shaheen's job performance, with 44 percent approving and 43 percent disapproving. Brown's favorability rating was underwater, with 40 percent viewing him negatively and 34 percent positively.
Shaheen held wider leads over three lesser-known potential GOP rivals: activist Karen Testerman by 17 points, former state Sen. Jim Rubens by 16 points, and former Rep. Bob Smith (R-N.H.) by 14 points. Forty-two percent of Republican primary voters said they'd most like to see Brown as their candidate, with his rivals each taking 11 percent or less.
The margins in the latest PPP release are the closest the race has been in polling to date. Other polls taken since last April have found Shaheen leading Brown by margins ranging from 4 to 18 points.
Brown has yet to announce whether he'll run, although he stoked speculation when he confirmed a move to New Hampshire last month. Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that supports Democratic Senate candidates, has already launched a $150,000 ad buy against him.
A message on his website, scottbrown.com, currently reads "Coming Soon."
The PPP poll surveyed 1,354 New Hampshire voters using automated phone calls to landlines and an online panel to reach cell phone-only households. The survey was conducted Jan. 9 through Jan. 12.