When the Monmouth University Poll took the temperature of the contest for the 3rd Congressional District in August, Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur held a one-point lead over Democratic challenger Andy Kim, (41 percent to 40 percent). The latest Monmouth poll flips things and now Kim is ahead (48 percent to 46 percent), with the statistically insignificant lead confirming this South Jersey midterm contest as one of the keenest in the state.
While there hasn’t been much change in the overall state of the race in the past two months, a couple of numbers pop out from the new poll that might suggest trouble for MacArthur. Kim has been attacking him as being beholden to special interests and, according to the latest Monmouth poll, almost half the voters (47 percent) in the 3rd District said the incumbent does more to represent special interests than average residents; only 28 percent said he does more to represent average residents. The opposite perception was the case for the challenger; almost half (48 percent) thought Kim would do more to represent average residents if elected, compared with 30 percent who believed he would do more for special interests.
MacArthur’s favorability rating has also gone in the wrong direction among likely voters. In the August poll, the congressman had a net +10 positive rating (35 percent favorable to 25 percent unfavorable, with 40 percent offering no opinion). This time around, although he maintained the 35 percent favorable, there were more in the unfavorable camp (34 percent), while 31 percent had no opinion. Kim, on the other hand, kept the same +10 positive rating as in August, when he was at 27 percent favorable, 17 percent unfavorable, and 57 percent for voters with no opinion. The new poll shows Kim with 38 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable, and 40 percent with no opinion.