U.S. Senator Bob Menendez leads Republican Bob Hugin by two points, 45%-43% — a statistical dead heat — according to a new statewide Stockton University poll released this morning.
The poll includes leaners and puts Libertarian Murray Sabrin at 3%.
Menendez has upside-down favorables of 30%-54%, while Hugin is at 34%-21%. Despite more than $15 million spent on his campaign, 43% of New Jerseyans still don’t know who Hugin is.
“With a two-point lead falling within the poll’s margin of error, the Senate race at this point is up for grabs,” said Michael W. Klein, interim executive director of the Hughes Center. “Bob Hugin has been attacking Senator Menendez on ethics with a heavy advertising campaign. However, with so many voters still unfamiliar with the Republican, Menendez will likely try to define his challenger in negative terms.”
The poll shows 59% of voters say corruption allegations against Menendez will play a major role in determining their vote, but 51% also put significant weight behind charges that Hugin profited off of a life-saving cancer drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company he ran.
John Froonjian, a spokesman for the Stockton Poll, said that New Jerseyans strongly oppose President Donald Trump. Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters (64%) graded Trump as either fair or poor.
Stockton has received a B+ grade from fivethirtyeight.com, which rates pollsters. Monmouth University received an A+, Fairleigh Dickinson University was awarded an A, Quinnipiac University was given an A-, and Rutgers University got a B- grade
Last year, a November 3 Stockton Poll showed Republican Chris Brown leading Democratic State Sen. Colin Bell in a 2nd legislative district poll 46%-43%, within the margin of error. Brown won the seat a few days later by a 54%–46% margin.
The poll was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy. Live interviewers on the Stockton University 531 adult New Jersey residents who were screened as likely voters. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.25 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.Stockton 100118 nj-statewide-2018-poll-wfs