New Rutgers-Eagleton poll on Congress

New Jersey’s incumbent congressmen of both parties are in decent shape eight months out from Election Day, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released this morning.

In the five congressional districts held by Republicans, registered voters say they intend to vote for Republicans by a 40% to 25% percent margin.  In the eight districts held by Democrats, voters pick Democrats 41% to 22%.  A significant amount, 20%, are undecided, while 10% don’t plan to vote. 

The statewide picture looks better for Republicans, who are statistically tied with Democrats in voters’ congressional preferences – 33% Democrat to 31% Republican.  But that number is misleading, according to poll director David Redlawsk.

“While the statewide vote may be close, it is less likely to be so in most congressional districts,” he said.  “While we did not poll at the district level, in the 3rd District, Democrat John Adler is likely to face a very difficult challenge. Still, at the aggregate level incumbents of both parties start the year with an advantage over potential general election challengers.”

In asking about incumbents and challengers, surveyors did not name them. 

“The wildcards this early in the year are not knowing how many challengers will mount
strong campaigns and how undecided voters will feel in eight months.” said Redlawsk.

The poll found that, like in last year’s gubernatorial election, independent voters are leaning Republican, choosing a generic Republican congressional candidate over a Democrat 30% to 17%.

President Obama remains popular in New Jersey, with 57% approving of her performance versus 37% who disapprove, but a slight majority – 52% — think that things are changing too slowly under his leadership. 

Rutgers-Eagleton surveyed 953 New Jerseyans, 886 of whom were registered voters, from February 19 to 22, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%.  Half samples for voter intent questions had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.
New Rutgers-Eagleton poll on Congress