NEW BRUNSWICK – Newark Mayor Cory Booker has a sizeable lead on opponent Steve Lonegan in the U.S. Senate race, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Booker leads the former Bogota mayor 64-29 percent, with 6 percent undecided, according to the poll released Wednesday.
Booker enjoys name recognition supported by his positive impression on most voters; 63 percent favorable versus 19 percent unfavorable. Seventeen percent are neutral or don’t know him.
However, the special election on Oct. 16 is drawing only modest attention among registered voters: just over half claim they are following the election at least fairly closely with about a quarter giving it close attention.
Just under 60 percent of registered voters say they are very likely to vote in the October election, the poll shows. “Booker appears to be building an insurmountable lead,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers.
“While special elections are notoriously hard to predict, given uncertainties about turnout, Booker’s name recognition, celebrity-type status and stances on issues that align more with New Jersey’s ‘blue’ political climate seem to be driving momentum toward him and away from Lonegan.
“On top of that the Republican’s most recent news highlights attacking Booker’s masculinity have been quite unflattering.”
Results come from a sample of 462 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points. All totaled, 925 New Jersey adults were polled statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Sept. 3-9. Within this adult sample are 814 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points, from which the likely voter sample is taken.
“The nearly unanimous party support is a key for Booker,” said Redlawsk. “Democrats seem motivated in this election, and may even be more likely to turn out than Republicans, who are much more split on their candidate.”