Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has a job approval rating of 41% against 26% who disapprove, according to this morning’s Monmouth Univeristy/NJ Press Media Poll.
Another 33% of New Jersey voters still have no opinion, a rating that is basically unchanged from October.
Only 21% of New Jersey voters definitely say Menendez should be re-elected, but just 32% say he should be fired.
Nearly half (46%) of the Garden State’s electorate express no opinion on whether he deserves another term. Among independent voters, though, 40% say it is time to have someone else in his Senate seat compared to just 16% who are ready to endorse the incumbent.
The allies of state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) like to point out that Menendez’s job approval rating can’t crack 50%, but this morning’s poll reveals a challenge for the Republican lawmaker who launched his candidacy last week: very few voters even know his potential Republican challengers, let alone have an opinion of them. Just 20% of voters statewide recognize Kyrillos, with just 4% having a favorable opinion of him and 2% unfavorable. Another potential GOP candidate, former mayor and Tea Party favorite, Anna Little, fares even worse in name recognition – just 13% say they know who she is, with 3% having a favorable opinion and 1% unfavorable.
“Senator Menendez has middling job ratings and the probable GOP challenger has nearly non-existent name recognition. Presidential coattails will be the key to victory. This is one reason why state Republican leaders don’t want Newt Gingrich at the top of the ticket and New Jersey Democrats hope that he is,” said Poll Director Patrick Murray.
Monmouth conducted the poll by telephone, interviewing 709 New Jersey registered voters from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. The sample has a margin of error of + 3.7 percent.