U.S. Senator Bob Menendez has a six-point lead, 43%-37%, against Republican Bob Hugin among likely voters in a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released this morning.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%, something the pollster makes the race anyone’s game.
“There’s no denying that this is tighter than one would expect for an incumbent senator. But, as the undecided numbers show, there’s still time for either candidate to capture more support,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and a professor of politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Menendez has upside-down favorables of 35%-53%. Hugin’s favorables are at 36%-30%.
Among Democrats, Menendez leads 73%-4%, with undecided members of his own party at an unusually high 22%. Hugin seems to have closed the deal with Republicans, leading 89%-3%.
“It’s both a blessing and a curse that a good number of Democrats remain up for grabs. Partisan leanings are usually a strong indicator of how someone will vote. If Menendez is able to capture the support of undecided Democrats, plus some of the independents, he will be able to decisively pull ahead of Hugin by November. It will be harder for Hugin to do the same, given the smaller base of undecided Republicans in the state. But, as they say, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day,” said Jenkins.
Hugin has an 82%-4% lead among New Jerseyans who approve of President Donald Trump, while Menendez is at 60%-6% among those who disapprove of him.
Independents are split: Menendez 26%, Hugin 25%.
Hugin leads among men, 46%-39%, and Menendez has a 20-point lead among women, 48%-28%. White voters are split: Hugin 42%, Menendez 40%; non-white voters are breaking to Menendez by 28 points, 52%-24%.
Menendez has a wide lead among voters 18-34, 60%-24%, but the two candidates split the other age groups: among 35-54-year-olds, it’s Hugin 39%, Menendez 36%; and among ages 55+, the two are tied at 41%. Hugin leads 46%-35% among high school graduates, while Menendez had a 47%-33% lead among college graduates.
“It looks like Hugin still has room to define himself to voters. As for Menendez, having a third of likely Democratic voters with unfavorable opinions about him is complicating his re-election efforts. He has some work to do in his own party if he is to expand his margin before November,” said Jenkins.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone September 26-30, 2018 using a random sample of adults in New Jersey aged 18 and older. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.8 percentage points, including the design effect. Interviews were conducted in English. Among likely voters, or those whose responses to a variety of questions about their behavior and attentiveness concerning the November election suggest a likelihood of voting, 508 respondents were identified. The sampling error for this group is +/- 4.3, including the design effect.
The poll carries weighted sample characteristics: 49% male, 51% female; 52% Democratic (with leaners), 33% Republican (with leaners), and 11% Independent; 28% ages 18-34, 35% ages 35-59, and 36% over 60; 64% White, 11% African-American, 15% Latino, and 7% Asian.FDU Poll - Senate 10.3.18