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Stockton poll: 66% back marijuana legalization question

Biden narrowly leads Trump in South Jersey districts he won in 2016, poll says

By Nikita Biryukov, October 16 2020 12:26 pm

A Stockton University poll released Friday found overwhelming support for a marijuana legalization referendum.

Two thirds of respondents, 66%, told pollsters they backed a constitutional amendment on the general election ballot that would legalize recreational marijuana use. Only 23% said they opposed the measure, while 10% said they were undecided.

Citing ballot drop off, Stockton pollsters said they expected the margin to be slimmer than what their poll found. Usually found at the bottom of a ballot, the state’s three referendums are on the back side of mail-in ballots this year.

The poll found former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump 47%-45% in South Jersey, which the poll defines as including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem Counties.

The results are a potential boon to Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) and Democratic House challenger Amy Kenenedy, whose South Jersey districts backed Trump in 2016. Trump won the third district by six points that. He won the second district by five points.

A worse performance could spell doom for Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who has tied himself closely to the president since defecting to the Republican party, and it bodes ill for Republican challenger David Richter.

Biden holds a far wider 61%-30% lead in North Jersey, the poll said. Statewide, the former vice president holds a 56%-36% lead over Trump, though William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy Director John Froonjian said he expects the final result to be closer.

“With more Democrats voting early than Republicans, the eventual election result will likely to be closer to the 13-point spread,” he said, citing the margin among respondents who had yet to cast their ballots.

The poll sampled 721 New Jersey likely voters and has a 3.7% margin of error.

Trump’s approvals were 23 points underwater at 37%-60%, while voters approved of Biden 56%-39%.

There’s little good news for Republican Senate challenger Rik Mehta, who the poll said trails U.S. Sen Cory Booker (D-Newark) 57%-32%.

The poll pegged Gov. Phil Murphy’s approval rating at a soundly positive 53%-39%.

In 2018, the Stockton poll came under fire for an October U.S. Senate poll that showed a close race between U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen) and Republican Bob Hugin. Menendez won re-election by 11 points. Republicans haven’t won a race for U.S. Senate in New Jersey since 1972.

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