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N.H.'s Ayotte in presidential poll ... but Hassan too?

It isn’t surprising at all to see Kelly Ayotte’s name pop up in a poll about the 2016 presidential race.

The Republican has been high profile since taking the oath as a U.S. senator from New Hampshire in 2011.

She campaigned actively for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and was rumored to be on the short list of people he considered as his vice presidential running mate.

So the fact that she’d show up in a poll asking the question - “Which woman would make the best president?” - isn’t a shock.

But it was a bit of a surprise in the same poll to see the name of N.H. Gov. Maggie Hassan.No detailed explanation was offered, other than this:

Many other names have also been put forward by pundits for 2016, including Republican Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Democratic Governors Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, once Democratic governor of Kansas, and University of California president Janet Napolitano, former secretary of Homeland Security.

Here’s our take: The timing might be right for Ayotte to give it some thought, but not so right for Hassan, who is in the first year of her governorship and is probably concentrating her political capital on getting re-elected in 2014 not raising her national visibility..

For those of us paying attention to the 2016 presidential race, the activity is already apparent in New Hampshire, home to the first in the nation primary.

New York Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King was in the state several days ago, admittedly laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run.

And we’ve previously seen Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

We’ve also seen a lot of former GOP U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. We thought he might be running for U.S. Senate against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who is up for re-election in 2014. He has a house in Rye and could establish residency. But it turns out he’s also considering a presidential run.

As far as the poll is concerned, it asks the question generally of who would make a good woman president, Republican or Democrat.Leading the field at this writing is the former secretary of state and former First Lady, Democrat Hillary Clinton with 36.5 percent of the vote.

Republican Condoleezza Rice, also a former secretary of state, polled second with 17.9 percent of the vote.

And Ayotte polled third with 10.7 percent of the vote, well ahead, mind you, of the other notables, including Oprah Winfrey.

Now, is there any hint of an interest by Ayotte to run in 2016? Not even a whiff at this point, but political winds shift all the time.

As for Hassan, she was polling at 0.3 percent. No surprise there, she just hasn’t raised her national visibility ... yet.

Paul Briand is an editor with the Live Free or Die Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages the discussion and analysis of New Hampshire public policy and politics.

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