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February 15, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker recently announced his bid to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2020. Already, he’s been making his case to voters in the all-important state of Iowa, where the first votes in that presidential cycle take place but he has some work to do on his home-state voters as well. According to the latest Monmouth Poll, 37 percent of New Jersey voters believe the Newark resident would make a good president while 42 percent say he would not.

“The home state sentiment isn’t quite ‘Run Cory, Run.’ But when you take into account how the last big presidential campaign rubbed many New Jerseyans the wrong way, it’s a decent endorsement for Booker,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Ah, yes, it will be a while before New Jerseyans forget the last presidential campaign to originate here, that of former Gov. Chris Christie. At its launch in 2015, 69 percent of residents said Christie would not make a good president versus 27 percent who said he had the right stuff for the Oval Office.

“Booker has become better known to his constituents over the past two years, but his presidential bid and elevated national profile may have worn off some of the sheen. Part of the problem could be that New Jerseyans haven’t fully recovered from Christie’s run four years ago,” Murray said.

Booker is still in positive territory when it comes to New Jersey residents’ views of him as a U.S. senator (48 percent say he’s doing a good job, 36 percent say he’s not, 16 percent have no opinion). Among registered voters, the split is 48 percent approve, 38 percent disapprove. Just nine months ago, his approve-disapprove rating was 54 percent to 31 percent.

Would Booker be able to serve effectively as a senator while on the presidential campaign trail? Thirty-four percent of residents believe so, but 58 percent say he could not do both effectively. And 43 percent say Booker should resign his seat now that he’s running, although 50 percent say there’s no need for that.

Probably the best news in this poll for New Jersey’s junior senator is that nearly four in 10 New Jerseyans believe that he has a good chance of either becoming president (15 percent) or at least winning his party’s nomination (22 percent). Twenty-eight percent think he’s a long shot to become the Democratic nominee and 26 percent say he hasn’t got a hope.

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