Two incumbent state assemblymen lead in the battleground 2nd Legislative District election, with less than 10 percentage points separating the four Assembly candidates, according to a Stockton Poll released today.
Incumbent Democrat Vincent Mazzeo leads with 26 percent, when voters who say they lean toward supporting Mazzeo are included. Republican Chris Brown, also an incumbent, polls second-highest with 24 percent including those who lean. Democratic challenger Colin Bell, an Atlantic County freeholder, is pulling 21 percent, while Republican labor leader Will Pauls is at 17 percent.
Stockton conducted the poll with 430 likely 2nd District voters. Live interviewers on the Stockton campus called both landlines and cell phones from Oct. 7-14, 2015. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points.
Twelve percent of voters are undecided or not expressing a choice among the four party-backed candidates.
“A large percentage of voters remain up for grabs in an extremely tight race. Candidates have the opportunity to improve their position in the next weeks,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the Hughes Center.
According to the poll, 25% of respondents are unfamiliar or unsure about Mazzeo, with 49 percent whose views of him are very favorable (21 percent) or somewhat favorable (28 percent). Twenty-nine percent are not familiar with incumbent Brown, while 45 percent view him as very favorable (20 percent) or somewhat favorable (25 percent).
Nearly 43 percent are not familiar with Bell, and 46 percent are not familiar with Pauls. Of those who know Bell, 39 percent have views of him that are very favorable (10 percent) or somewhat favorable (29 percent). For Pauls, 31 percent view him as very favorable (7 percent) or somewhat favorable (24 percent).
Only 40 percent rate Mazzeo’s job performance in positive terms, while 39 percent rate him as fair or poor. Twenty percent are not sure or refuse to answer. Brown’s ratings are similar, with 42 percent rating him positively, 37 percent rating him as fair or poor, and 21 percent being not sure or refusing to answer.
A majority of 55 percent feels the candidates are addressing issues that are important to them, while 37 percent feel they are not and 8 percent are unsure. Jobs is identified as the most important issue in the election by 19 percent, followed by 12 percent identifying casino issues as most important in the district that includes Atlantic City. Taxes in general (12 percent), the economy (11 percent) and property taxes (9 percent) are next in order of importance.