Kyrillos closes on Menendez

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ campaign for U.S. Senate has picked up steam over the past month with a new poll showing the Republican within 9 points of incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez.

A Quinnipiac University poll shows Menendez ahead of Kyrillos 44 to 35 in their race for Menendez’s Senate seat.  Those numbers are markedly better for Kyrillos than earlier polls, which showed Menendez with a double-digit lead.

Menendez’s numbers remained “lackluster,” according to Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Just 35 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of Menendez against 27 percent with an unfavorable view. But after years in public office, 37 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

With Menendez’s numbers remaining below 50 percent, Kyrillos could see some daylight, though the Republican still struggles with name recognition, as 79 percent of those polled said they don’t know enough about him to determine an opinion.

“This race could get interesting,” Carroll said. Kyrillos closes on Menendez