Two political figures from different parties – Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew – are leading by large margins in the 1st Legislative District, according to a Stockton Polling Institute poll released today.
Christie leads Democrat Barbara Buono, a state senator, 60 percent to 28 percent.
Van Drew leads Republican challenger Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt 62 percent to 29 percent, including voters who say they are leaning toward supporting one candidate or the other. Van Drew, a former state assemblyman first elected to the Senate in 2007, receives high favorability ratings of 70 percent. Adelizzi-Schmidt faces the challenge of low name recognition; 64 percent of respondents said they are not familiar with her.
However, the race for two state Assembly seats is much tighter, according to Stockton. While Democratic incumbent Nelson Albano has the most support with 24 percent, Republican challengers Sam Fiocchi and Kristine Gabor (both 17 percent) are only four percentage points behind Democratic incumbent Bob Andrzejczak, at 21 percent.
Albano is the better known of the four Assembly candidates. Only 26 percent were not familiar with the incumbent; whereas, over 50 percent were not familiar with each of the other three candidates.
The contest for U.S. Senate in the traditionally Republican-leaning district is tighter. Democrat Cory Booker leads Republican Steve Lonegan by seven percentage points, 45.6 percent to 38.4 percent.
Stockton conducted the poll with 601 likely 1st District voters from Sept. 23-26. Interviewers called both land lines and cell phones. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percent.
“The 1st District has been competitive for a number of years, and it appears that at least one state Assembly seat there is up for grabs,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the Hughes Center.
In other results:
- · 31 percent said an endorsement by Christie of a legislative candidate would make it less likely for them to vote for that candidate; 32 percent said it would make it more likely; and 32 percent said it would make no difference.
- · 54 percent believe New Jersey is headed in the right direction, with 32 saying it is on the wrong track.
- · Voters identify jobs, property taxes, taxes in general and the economy as the top issues facing New Jersey.
- · 74 percent say property taxes have increased in the past three years.
- · Voters support ballot questions to raise the minimum wage and provide cost-of-living increases and to allow veterans groups to use raffle money for operating expenses by percentages of more than 70 percent.