Democrats have the edge in the race for Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 11th district congressional seat, but the race is still too close to call, according to a new Monmouth University poll released today.
Democrat Mikie Sherrill holds a 40%-38% lead over Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber. A historical midterm model puts Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and ex-federal prosecutor, ahead of Webber by four points, 44%-40%. In a model that includes a turnout surge in Democratic precincts, Sherill’s lead expends to 45%-39%.
“Right now this race is more about underlying partisan enthusiasm than it is about either of the two major party candidates because, to be frank, most voters don’t know much about either one of them. There is still a lot of room for movement in this race with the high number of undecided voters and low level of knowledge about the candidates,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
President Donald Trump has an upside-down 47%-49% approval rating. More voters oppose Trump that support him, 42%-49%.
Sherill’s two-point lead is within the +/- 4.9% margin of error. The margin of error expands to +/- 5.3% for the full sample and +/- 7.4% for the likely voter model.
Most voters still haven’t formed an impression of Sherrill and Webber. Sherill has favorables of 31%-7%, while Webber is at 22%-12%.
In a district that has elected a Republican congressman since 1984, voters would narrowly – 40%-38% — prefer Republicans to maintain control of Congress. Neither party viewed favorably: Republicans are at 35% favorable, 36% unfavorable; Democrats at 30% favorable, 44% favorable.
“Many voters in this district maintain a lifelong affiliation with the Republican Party. It’s just a different type of Republican Party than the one they see in control in Washington today. This political disconnect with the party is one factor that increases the district’s potential to flip,” said Murray.
The poll tested voter approval of the tax reform plan approved by Congress last year. 40% approve of it an d43% disapprove.
“The recently passed tax reform bill may be the Trump presidency’s biggest legislative accomplishment to date, but it doesn’t play well in a district where the SALT cap is likely to hit hard,” said Murray. He added, “You wonder whether Sherrill would be doing even better if Frelinghuysen had chosen to run again, since it would have been harder for a party leader to separate himself from the Republican plan despite his own vote against it.”NJ11 monmouthpoll_nj_062718