Three months from the Senate primary, Republicans don’t know who the candidates are

Voters have no idea who the Republican U.S. Senate candidates are, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released this morning. 84% of voters have never heard of State Senator Joseph Pennacchio, 87% don’t recognize Anne Evans Estabrook, and 89% have no idea who Murray Sabrin is. Among Republicans, the number is similarly dismal: 82% haven’t heard of Pennacchio, 83% don’t know who Sabrin is, and 87% are unfamiliar with Estabrook.

“No brand name has entered the race for the Republicans,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “In part, that is a reflection of poor prospects for the Republican Party nationally which is bogged down with an unpopular President, an unpopular war, and a softening economy.”

The four-term incumbent, Democrat Frank Lautenberg, is known by 85% of New Jersey voters; he has a 42%-23% favorability rating.

“He’s a brand name and they like him.” Woolley said.

Reviews on U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez are mixed: he has a 30%-26% favorability rating.

Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, a potential 2009 GOP gubernatorial candidate, is known to 25% of state voters, and to 33% of voters.

Three months from the Senate primary, Republicans don’t know who the candidates are