(CNN) - The border crisis is moving from the headlines to the campaign air wars.
Senate candidate Scott Brown is going up with a new television commercial that links Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire to President Barack Obama over the crisis along the nation's southern border.
Talking to camera in the ad, Brown says "Americans go through security before they get on a plane, enter a government building, or attend a ball game. But folks who come here illegally, they just walk across the border. That's wrong. Thanks to the pro-amnesty policies of President Obama and Sen. Shaheen, we have an immigration crisis on our hands. We respond with compassion, but it's time for us to secure the border once and for all."
The Brown campaign says it's spending six-figures to run the spot for a week on WMUR and WBIN, the two commercial television stations in the Granite State, and on cable TV. The campaign also says Brown's the first Senate candidate in the country to run a TV ad over the border crisis.
The influx of Central American children trying to cross the southern border, many of them unaccompanied, has been a major media story over the past month and a half. The White House and many Democrats have clashed with Republicans in Congress and governors over who is to blame and what should be done about it.
The surge appears to be fueling a notable shift in American attitudes toward immigration policy with border security growing in importance, according a CNN/ORC International poll.
The poll, released last week, indicates that 51% now say the government's focus, when it comes to immigration policy, should be formulating a plan to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants. Forty-five percent say the top priority should be developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants who have jobs to become legal residents. That's a change from February, when Americans said 54%-41% that legal status trumped border security.
More than three-quarters of Republicans questioned in the survey say beefing up the border trumps legal status for the undocumented. And those are the voters Brown is trying to rally.
Brown, a former senator from neighboring Massachusetts, sold his home in the Bay State late last year and moved his residency north to New Hampshire, where he owed a vacation home and where he spent much of his childhood. In April he formally launched his Senate bid in New Hampshire.
According to the most recent poll, Brown is the overwhelming favorite to win the September 9 GOP Senate primary over former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. But the same NBC News/Marist survey also indicates Brown trailing by eight percentage points in a November showdown to Shaheen, who also served for six years as the state's governor.
"Even republicans recognize that Scott Brown's campaign is failing to gain traction and this negative ad reeks of desperation. Scott Brown knows both Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that strongly increases border security," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain, in response to the spot.
The commercial is Brown's fifth since he launched his bid in the spring. But it's the first one to focus entirely on one issue and not include any part of Brown's biography.
Brown's been trying to raise his profile in the state since moving from Massachusetts late late year. Shaheen, who is well known in New Hampshire, has not had to tout her biography in her campaign commercials.
Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states, like New Hampshire.