Stockton Poll: Booker leads Bell by nine points in CD3

In the most-watched Congressional District in the state this season, incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) leads Republican Jeff Bell by 9 percentage points in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, according to a Stockton Polling Institute poll released today.

In the poll of 606 likely 3rd District voters in a district opened up by the retirement of U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3) at the end of this term, Booker leads 50 percent to 41 percent for Bell when voters who lean toward one candidate or the other are included.

Bell is performing better in the Republican-leaning 3rd District than he did in a statewide Stockton Poll released Sept. 10. Booker led 49 percent to 36 percent statewide. The 3rd District includes parts of Ocean and Burlington counties.

Yesterday’s Stockton Poll showed the CD3 race tied between Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur.

“This district has traditionally been part of the Republican Party base. Republicans generally have to win in this region to have a chance at a statewide office,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the Hughes Center.

The poll also found that 55 percent in the 3rd District have a favorable view of Gov. Chris Christie, with 42 percent holding an unfavorable view. Forty-seven percent rate the governor’s job performance as excellent or good, with 27 percent rating it fair and 24 percent as poor.

The Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy conducted the poll. Live interviewers on the Stockton campus called both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 12-14, 2014. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

Fifty-seven percent in the 3rd District have a favorable opinion of Booker, with 31 percent holding an unfavorable view of him. Twelve percent are unfamiliar with Booker or unsure about their view. More than one-third (35 percent) don’t know the Republican challenger. Bell is seen favorably by 39 percent and unfavorably by 24 percent.

Despite Booker’s positive rating, only 44 percent rate his job performance as excellent or good, with 32 percent rating it as fair and 17 percent as poor.

Among other findings in today’s Stockton Poll:

·         Fifty-six percent say Congress as a whole is doing a poor job. Only 12 percent in the district rate Congress as doing an excellent or good job, and 32 percent rate it as fair.

·         The need for jobs is named most often (by 22 percent) as the top issue facing New Jersey, followed by property taxes at 18 percent, the economy at 13 percent, and taxes in general at 12 percent.

·         The poll finds strong support for a proposed state Constitutional amendment that would allow judges to deny bail to defendants who are flight risks or who pose threats to the public. Eighty-two percent support the proposal, with 12 percent opposed and 6 percent unsure or refusing to answer.

·         Fifty-eight percent supports a second proposed Constitutional amendment that would increase the percentage of the Corporation Business Tax dedicated to environmental programs. The dedication would go from 4 percent to 6 percent on July 1, 2019. Thirty-six percent oppose the proposal, and 7 percent are unsure or refuse to answer.

The Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (www.stockton.edu/hughescenter) conducted the poll on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 12 – 14. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Stockton Poll: Booker leads Bell by nine points in CD3