Former State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) leads Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) by eight points, 46-38%, among likely voters in the 7th congressional district, according to a new poll released by RMG Research on behalf of U.S. Term Limits.
The poll, which was conducted in late July, also tested President Joe Biden’s approval rating and found him at 41-59% in a district he would have carried by four points in 2020.
RMG Research, a B- pollster according to FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings, has conducted a large amount of congressional district polling in recent weeks for U.S. Term Limits, which advocates for term limits on members of Congress. Among the other districts polled was New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, where Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) led Republican Bob Healey 44-38%.
The Malinowski campaign didn’t have a lot of confidence in the poll.
“We are confident based on rigorous, unbiased polling conducted for our campaign that this race will go well for us,” said Naree Ketudat, a spokesperson for the Malinowski campaign. “We would caution everyone to be suspicious of partisan polls, especially when issued by organizations that can’t even spell Congressman Malinowski’s name correctly, and that apparently pitted him against ‘Tom Kean,’ whom most New Jerseyans remember as our highly respected and moderate former governor, instead of Tom Kean Jr., who has pledged to have Donald Trump’s back ‘no matter what.'”
Malinowski, first elected in 2018 against Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton), has already faced Kean once before. In 2020, Kean challenged Malinowski in the previous version of the 7th district and lost by just one percentage point, far outrunning then-President Donald Trump’s performance in the district.
Since then, the 7th district was redrawn to become substantially more Republican – a tradeoff Democratic mapmakers made in exchange for shoring up other Democratic incumbents – and Malinowski has been ensnared in a still-ongoing scandal over his failure to properly disclose stock trades.
That combination of factors has led most election prognosticators to view Malinowski as an underdog for re-election and rate the district as “leans Republican.” Only one other poll of the district has been publicly released: a Democratic internal poll that found the candidates deadlocked at 46% each.
The RMG Research poll was conducted from July 23-28 with a sample of 400 likely voters and a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
This story was updated at 1:45 p.m. with a correction: Biden’s approval rating in the poll is 41-59%, not 41-58%.