U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s (N.J.) job approval rating remains unchanged by his role in a donor scandal, according to this morning’s Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll.
While two thirds (68%) of New Jersey voters have heard about Menendez’s trips to the Dominican Republic on a donor’s plane, just 24% believe he was involved in wrong-doing while 11% say he was not. Another 65% don’t know enough to form an opinion or have not heard about the issue at all, according to the poll. But among the one-third of New Jersey voters who have heard a lot about the issue nearly half (47%) say Menendez was probably involved in wrong-doing compared to just 18% who say he was not. Among Democrats who have heard a lot, 36% think the senator was involved in wrong-doing and 31% say he was not. Among aware independent voters, opinion is 47% involved to 11% not involved, and among aware Republicans it is 65% involved to 12% not involved, the poll says.
Overall, 28% of voters say the tips leading to the investigation were likely to have been politically motivated compared to 12% who say they were not, while 60% have no opinion or are unaware of the investigation. Among those who have heard a lot about it, twice as many suspect that the investigation was politically motivated (50%) as say it was not (25%).
“Right now, the unfolding story has not hurt Senator Menendez’s standing among New Jersey voters, in part because very few voters have been following it all that closely,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Forty-one percent of Garden State voters approve of the job Sen. Menendez is doing, 31% disapprove and 28% have no opinion. These results are similar to prior ratings over the last two years.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 6 to 10, 2013. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).