New Jersey voters favor U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez by a margin of 49 percent to 32 percent over his Republican challenger, former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin. That’s according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released yesterday. And that’s despite the fact many voters believe that Menendez was involved in serious wrongdoing — arising out of the corruption charges he recently beat. The poll reveals far more lopsided levels of support when people’s party affiliation is taken into account: Democrats stand by Menendez 85 percent – 3 percent, while Republicans back Hugin 81 percent – 7 percent. Independent voters go for Menendez 41 percent – 36 percent. Thirty-eight percent of voters believe Menendez was involved in “serious wrongdoing,” 20 percent say he was not involved, and 37 percent say they haven’t heard enough to decide.
“New Jersey voters are sending Sen. Robert Menendez a mixed message,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said. “They far prefer him … over Republican challenger Bob Hugin… But they are skeptical about his guilt or innocence regarding federal corruption charges that were dropped after a hung jury.”
Other numbers from the poll: New Jersey voters approve 44 percent – 23 percent of the job Gov. Phil Murphy is doing. (The approval rate for him is 72 percent – 6 percent among Democrats, and 41 percent – 22 percent among independent voters, with Republicans disapproving 54 percent – 12 percent.) Voters approve of the job U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is doing 59 percent – 31 percent.