State Sen.-elect Mike Testa’s campaign wants John Froonjian to stop defending a Stockton University poll that showed State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak leading the Cumberland County Republican chairman by 14 points.
“While we don’t hold any ill towards the good folks at Stockton, we are disappointed that they just don’t concede what is obvious — that the methodology in their poll related to partisan turnout was dead wrong and what we said at the time was absolutely right,” Testa campaign manager Brittany O’Neill said.
Testa won the race by seven points, though those results do not include provisional ballots cast in the district, nor do they include all vote by mail ballots, though a majority of the latter have been counted.
Froonjian, interim director of the Stockton poll, sought to defend his organizations poll.
“Clearly the poll results in the Senate race were very different than the vote,” he told InsiderNJ. The same poll was much closer on the Assembly race, with the outcome being within the margin of error. The same sampling and questionnaire was also used in the 2nd District, with the results very accurately signaling that vote.
The poll had Assemblyman Bruce Land up five points over Republican challengers. Assemblyman Matt Milam was up by four.
O’Neill’s chief criticism, one that Testa’s campaign pushed when the poll was released, is that Stockton oversampled Democrats in the right-leaning district.
“LD1 is a +2 Republican district in terms of registration and has averaged +7 in terms of Republican turnout in recent elections,” she said. “Despite that, the Stockton poll had a sample that was +6 Democratic. We knew instantly the number was wrong and nothing in the final two weeks of the campaign would have precipitated a 20-point swing in our favor.”
The race did have some last-minute changes that likely boosted Republican candidates.
For one, Gov. Phil Murphy, who is unpopular in the district, went up on the air.
At a national level, Democrats held a very public, not to mention very polarizing, procedural vote on impeachment.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who held an unbreakable grip on the second legislative district before moving to Congress, voted against the resolution, but it’s not clear whether his vote did anything to help the district’s Democratic candidates.
“Releasing that poll caused our campaign and our candidates hours worth of time reassuring grassroots supporters and donors about our prospects for success, and educating them as to why the poll was flawed,” O’Neill said. “That wasn’t fair to our campaign or the voters, and given the competitive congressional elections in South Jersey on the horizon in 2020, we are hopeful that this incident prompts a full vetting and review by both Strockton’s Polling Institute and the media who cover their polls.”