A Stockton poll released Wednesday found State Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Bob Hugin with sizable leads over their respective opponents in the second district.
Van Drew led Seth Grossman by 23 points, 55% to 32%, while Hugin was up over U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez by 10 points, 46% to 36%.
For Grossman, part of the problem may lie in his still being a relatively unknown quantity in the district. Just 40% of the district’s voters said they were familiar, and of those, 20% said they had a favorable view of the former Atlantic City Congressman.
The poll pegged Van Drew’s favorability at 49%, with 11% holding an unfavorable view of the candidate. The remaining 40% said they were unfamiliar with the state senator.
The news may look good for Hugin, but Michael Klein, interim executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy cautioned that the results were more a reflection of the district’s makeup than anything else.
“This looks like bad news for Senator Menendez and good news for Bob Hugin, but keep in mind that the 2nd District is more rural and more moderate than most of New Jersey,” Klein said. “This is a district that sent Republican Frank LoBiondo to Congress for the last 24 years and voted for Donald Trump in 2016.”
Still, a 33-point swing from the district’s Democratic House candidate ought not be overlooked, even if Van Drew is further to the right than many of his Democratic colleagues in the state.
And, it could be a good sign for Republican up and down the ballot in the the district. Grossman’s candidacy isn’t pulling Hugin down, and that bodes well for the district’s candidates at a local level.