U.S. Senator Bob Menendez says he knew he faced a tough race all along and a new poll won’t make him run any more scared than he already was.
A Stockton University poll released this morning showed Menendez in a statistical dead heat with Republican Bob Hugin. Menendez leads Hugin by only two points, 45%-43%, numbers that fall within the margin of error.
“I’ve had that standard all the time that I run, so I am working incredibly hard, was working incredibly hard before that poll, will work incredibly hard when the next poll comes up and says I’m up by six or eight, and I will work incredibly hard, my heart out, until the very end of this election,” Menendez said referring to his “run-unopposed-or-run-scared standard.”
In attempt to discredit the first poll that has shown a close contest between Menendez and Hugin, the former’s campaign has pointed to the Stockton poll’s history of underestimating Democratic support.
“The Stockton Poll historically underestimates Democratic performance; this is no different. At the same time in the race in 2016 and 2014, they undercut Hillary Clinton’s statewide performance by nine points and Cory Booker’s by seven, respectively, as each won by double-digit margins,” Menendez communications director Steve Sandberg said in a statement. “In 2012, Stockton had Senator Menendez with 52%, only to wind up with 59% en route to a 20-point victory.”
Race-rater 538 gives the poll a B+ in reliability, a fairly high mark.
But, it’s possible that the poll might have missed some Democratic strongholds across the state. Sandberg pointed to the poll’s Hudson County respondents, which numbered only six, or 1% of those polled.
Whatever the case may be, Hugin’s campaign is thrilled to see the poll’s results, which mark the first time a poll has found the candidate has support exceeding that of just the party base.
“Today’s poll is no surprise. Since launching my campaign, I’ve made over 400 campaign stops and met thousands of voters throughout the state,” Hugin said in a statement. “Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, voters want a Senator who will put New Jersey first and represent them with honor and integrity. That’s why a growing number of Democrats are publicly endorsing my campaign.”