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Lonegan Inching Closer To Booker

Maybe Newark mayor Cory Booker isn’t a sure thing to win Wednesday’s special election for U.S. Senate in New Jersey. What was a 16 point lead for Booker over Republican Steve Lonegan now stands at just 10 points.

Steve Lonegan and Cory Booker campaign on Saturday
Steve Lonegan and Cory Booker campaign on Saturday (Lonegan Facebook page, @Booker4Senate via Twitter)

A Monmouth University poll released today shows Booker currently holding a 52 percent to 42 percent lead over Lonegan among New Jerseyans likely to vote. With just two days to go before the special election, 12 percent of voters say they are either undecided or could change their mind about the candidate they intend to support.  Among “firm” voters who have made a choice and say they will not change their minds, Booker has a 47 percent to 39 percent edge over Lonegan.

“Concerns about Cory Booker’s intentions to serve New Jersey continue to persist and his favorability ratings continue to drop,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “At the same time, voters clearly prefer Booker’s political views over Lonegan’s. The message seems to be that Garden State voters don’t like to feel that their support is being taken for granted.”

Independent voters now give a slight edge to Lonegan, who can claim support from 48 percent of this bloc compared to 43 percent for Booker. Just two weeks ago, Booker had a six point edge among independents.

The poll asked voters whether they think Booker wants to become a US Sen. more to be on the national stage or more to serve the state of New Jersey. Almost half (48 percent) say the national spotlight is the main attraction compared to 37 percent who say Booker’s focus is on the Garden State.

The personal rating for Booker stands at 51 percent favorable to 30 percent unfavorable, with 19% having no opinion. This is the third consecutive decline in voter opinion of the Newark mayor since June, when his ratings stood at 61 percent favorable to 15 percent unfavorable.

The personal ratings for Lonegan continue to drop as more voters get to know him. Today, 38 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of the former mayor of Bogota compared to 35 percent who hold an unfavorable view. Another 27 percent have no opinion.

Whose views are a better fit for New Jersey? A majority of voters (55 percent) say Booker’s views on the issues are in line with most New Jerseyans, while just 30 percent say they are out of step. On the other hand, 46 percent say that Lonegan’s views are out of step compared to 37 percent who say they are in line with the constituents he wishes to represent in the US Senate.

The poll was conducted by telephone from Oct. 10 to 12, 2013 with 1,393 New Jersey voters likely to vote in the October special election with a margin of error of + 2.6 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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