Newark Mayor Cory Booker already has wide leads in both the primary and general elections to succeed the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.
According to the poll, Booker takes 53 per cent in a Democratic primary contest, beating out U.S. Reps. Rush Holt (10 per cent) and Frank Pallone (9 per cent). Booker also beats out Republican Steve Lonegan, a former gubernatorial candidate and Tea Party favourite, by a wide 54-27 margin.
New Jersey Assembly Speaker Shiela Oliver, a Democrat, entered the race late Sunday night and was not included in the poll.
Booker holds an advantage over other candidates because of his sky-high name recognition and the fact that he is viewed very favourably. Overall, 57 per cent of respondents said they view Booker favourably, compared with just 14 per cent who view him unfavorably.
“Who are those other guys? The record shows that Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are big in their districts, but, state-wide, no one knows them,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The special election primaries will be in August, and the general election will be held in October. Gov. Chris Christie has taken some heat for scheduling the election apart from his own, but the Quinnipiac poll shows that voters largely don’t care.
By a 50-40 margin, voters approve of Christie’s decision to hold the election in October. His approval rating sits at an astronomical 69 per cent, and he leads Democratic gubernatorial challenger Barbara Buono by a 30-point margin.
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