By Christian Wade | The Center Square
A majority of New Hampshire voters are unaware of redistricting changes to the state’s congressional districts that critics say have been gerrymandered.
The poll, released by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found that only about one-third of respondents were aware of proposed maps for the state’s two U.S. House districts, which have been described as the biggest shakeup of the state’s political boundaries in more than 40 years.
“Despite the importance of redistricting to who gets elected to Congress in 2022, only 33% of New Hampshire residents say they have seen the maps while 64% have not seen them,” the pollsters wrote.
Democrats and independent voters were more likely to have seen the proposed congressional maps than Republicans, UNH pollsters found, and at least 80% of those who have seen the maps believe they are unfair.
Release of the poll comes as New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Legislature plods ahead with controversial new political maps for the state’s congressional boundaries as part of the state’s once-every-decade redistricting process. The House of Representatives has approved the maps, but the Senate has yet to vote on them.
The new maps would make the 1st Congressional District more Republican by shifting several GOP-leaning communities – including Salem, Hudson and Windham – inside the boundary.
The plan would make the 2nd Congressional District slightly more Democratic by including several Democratic-leaning communities, including Portsmouth, Rochester and Dover.
The 1st District is currently represented by Democrat Chris Pappas, while the 2nd District is represented by Democrat Annie Kuster.
Both are facing challenges in this year’s midterm elections as Republicans seek to regain control of Congress.
Democrats and good government groups have accused Republican lawmakers of “institutionalized corruption” by carving up the congressional districts in their favor. Republicans argue that the changes will make the districts more competitive.
Meanwhile, the state Senate last week rejected a proposal to prohibit gerrymandering in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from redrawing boundaries in favor of a specific political party.
The UNH poll, which has a 3% margin of error, surveyed 1,081 New Hampshire voters between Feb. 18 and 22.