Democrat U.S. Senator Bob Menendez leads his GOP challenger by six points, 43%-37%, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Menendez has an upside-down 43%-37% favorable rating, and a 40%-47% job approval rating.
Hugin, who has spent an estimated $10 million so far, remains largely unknown to New Jersey voters. He has a 24%-20% favorable rating, with more than half the voters (54%) still not knowing enough about him to form an opinion.
“As Sen. Robert Menendez sees his once dominant lead whittled down to single digits, New Jersey voters are sending a clear message. They are troubled by the ethics cloud hanging over him,” said Mary Snow, polling analyst for the Quinnipiac Poll. “While voters prefer Sen. Menendez over Republican Bob Hugin in deep blue New Jersey, they give the incumbent negative approval and favorability ratings.”
Hugin has a slight lead among independents, 37%-33%, and the two U.S. Senate candidates are tied among men, at 42% each. Menendez has an ten-point lead (42%-33%) among women, and Hugin is ahead 55%-35% among men. Menendez has an enormous 47%-22% lead among young voters, but Hugin is ahead by fifteen points (51%-36%) among senior citizens.
Among white voters, Hugin leads by nine points, 47%-38%. But Menendez is way ahead among non-white voters, 51%-18%.
Problematic for Menendez is that voters ran ethics in government as their number one issue, edging out taxes by a 25%-21% margin. Those issues are followed by gun policy (21%), health care (19%), taxes (14%), and immigration (14%).
Menendez’s greatest obstacle will come from his 2017 corruption trial. Nearly half of New Jersey’s voters (49%) believe he was involved in “serious wrongdoing.” 16% says he wasn’t involved, and 31% say they haven’t heard enough.
From August 15 – 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 908 New Jersey voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points, including the design effect. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.