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12 percent

September 7, 2012

New Jersey Democrats have a solid lead among likely voters in this year’s U.S. Senate and congressional races, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, which shows incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez holding a 12 percent lead over Republican challenger state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth).

Kyrillos faces an uphill battle, according to David Redlawsk, director of the poll and professor of political science at Rutgers, because even Republicans say they don’t know him (24 percent); have no opinion of him (56 percent); or have an unfavorable opinion (8 percent). Overall, 35 percent of those polled say they plan to vote for Kyrillos, while 47 percent say they plan to vote for Menendez. About 10 percent say they remain undecided.

The same 47 percent Democratic/35 percent Republican split was also seen when respondents were asked who they planned to vote for in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Although the poll was weighted in terms of party affiliation, it was unclear where respondents were based geographically.)

The $750 million bond for higher education also gets broad support, with 56 percent of likely voters saying they support it. Only 27 percent said they were against the bond issue, while 17 percent said they didn’t know enough about it. Democrats were more likely to support it than Republicans, but the plan won support across the board, with 42 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Independents saying they would support it, even though the remaining respondents said they still didn’t know enough about it. Only Republicans living in shore counties were seriously dubious of the plan.

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