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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Newark mayor favorables at 60%, new Fairleigh Dickinson poll says

Baraka in good shape for 2022 re-election bid

By David Wildstein, August 23 2021 6:00 am

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is sitting on a massive 60%-17% favorable rating among residents of the state’s largest city more eight months before the May 2022 mayoral election, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll released on Monday morning.

Favorables in Newark for Baraka are about the same as for Cory Booker, who served as mayor from 2006 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2013.  The FDU poll has Booker’s hometown favorables at 60%-17%.

The two-term mayor does increasingly better with older Newark residents: Baraka is at 77%-8% among residents over age 65, 67%-14% in the 45-64 age group, 58%-21% among Newarkers ages 31-44, and 47%-18% for residents who are under age 30.

Baraka’s favorables are 71%-13% among Black residents, 49%-18% among Hispanics, and 52%-26% among Whites.  Most Portuguese residents of Newark identified as White in the poll.

He’s at 63%-14% among women and 57%-19% among men.

Baraka doesn’t have any clear weaknesses in his coalition: he does best among Black residents, but he’s above water across the board,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at FDU and the poll director.  “There are plenty of people in Newark that don’t have a strong view of him but getting them to the polls could be a challenge.”

While Newark elections are non-partisan, Baraka’s favorables are at 72%-11% among Democrats, 46%-25% among independents, and 40%-32% among Republicans.  Democrats have a 57%-4% advantage among Newark voters.

Baraka is expected to seek a third term next year, but has not yet announced his intentions.  He is also widely viewed as a potential candidate for the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, when Gov. Phil Murphy is term-limited.

The 51-year-old Baraka was elected mayor with 54% against former Assistant New Jersey Attorney General Shavar Jeffries in 2014 and was re-elected with 77% against two-term Central Ward City Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield-Jenkins in 2018.

Baraka won all five wards and a 15,584-vote plurality in 2018.  He now holds the record for the largest percentage of any Newark mayoral candidate.

The FDU poll was conducted between July 9 and August 11.  It has a sample size of 1,100 Newark residents and a margin of error of +/- 3%.

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