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U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

New Jersey likes Cory Booker, not sure if he should be president, poll says

Pollster blames Chris Christie fatigue on, says numbers are ‘decent endorsement’ for Booker

By David Wildstein, February 14 2019 6:00 am

Just 37% of New Jerseyans think Cory Booker would make a good president, but Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray blames some of that on Chris Christie.

The better news for Booker in a new Monmouth Poll released this morning is that 65% of Democrats say he’s a good fit for the White House, with only 14% saying he would not be.

“The home state sentiment isn’t quite ‘Run Cory, Run.’ But when you take into account how the last big presidential campaign rubbed many New Jerseyans the wrong way, it’s a decent endorsement for Booker,” said Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Booker is doing better than Christie.

When the former governor entered the presidential race in 2015, just 27% believed he would make a good president and a massive 69% of New Jersey residents felt that he would not.

Four years ago, 57% of New Jersey Republicans thought Christie would make a good president and 40% said he would not.

“Booker has become better known to his constituents over the past two years, but his presidential bid and elevated national profile may have worn off some of the sheen. Part of the problem could be that New Jerseyans haven’t fully recovered from Christie’s run four years ago,” said Murray.

Booker has job approval ratings of 48%-36%, down from his 54%-31% showing in an April Monmouth Poll.

Since last April, Booker has slipped among independents: he’s now upside-down at 37%-42% and was at 52%-33% nine months ago.

Booker is at 13%-75% among Republicans – worse than his April 2018 showing of 21%-64% — but his standing among Democrats has climbed from 77%-9% to 81%-8%.

He’s still New Jersey’s most popular statewide public official.  A Monmouth Poll released two days ago has Gov. Phil Murphy’s approvals at 43%-40%.

“Despite whatever reservations New Jerseyans may have about his presidential aspirations, Booker continues to earn stronger ratings than any other statewide office holder,” Murray said.

Booker’s approval are significantly better than Christie’s 36%-58% job approvals when he launched his bid for the presidency.

Can Booker do two jobs at once?

About one-third (34%) of the state thinks that Booker can run for president will still effectively serve as New Jersey’s United States Senator, while 58% say he cannot.  For Christie, the number was a more lopsided 26%-71%.

In a similar question earlier this week, 46% of New Jerseyans said Murphy is more concerned about his own political future than his current position as governor.  He will become chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association in January, just before the Iowa caucuses.

But 50% of New Jerseyans opposed the idea that Booker should resign from the Senate to run for president, while think he should.

Nearly two-third of New Jerseyans (66%) say that Booker should drop his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate if he captures the Democratic presidential nomination, even though a new state law would allow him to run for both.  21% say that Booker should run for both offices.

57% of Democrats, 71% of unaffiliated (independent) voters, and 73% of Republicans think Booker should end his Senate re-election bid if he captures the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

While just 15% of the state view Booker as having a “decent shot to become president” and 22% think he has a “decent shot to win the Democratic nomination but not the general election,” those numbers are much better than where Christie was in 2015.

A mere 7% of New Jerseyans thought Christie could win the presidency and another 18% thought he could be the GOP nominee but not win.

Another 28% think Booker is a long shot to win the Democratic nomination but could still win – 31% for Christie – and 26% say there is no way Booker will win – 40% for Christie.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from February 8 to 10, 2019 with 604 New Jersey adult and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

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