A new survey finds President Obama and incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez are pulling ahead of their Republican challengers in the Garden State.

Bob Menendez & Joe Kyrillos (flickr, Facebook)

Pollster Patrick Murray says a just-released Monmouth University Asbury Park Press poll finds, "Fifty-two percent of likely voters say they will support the incumbent President, just thirty-seven percent will vote for Romney…Obama's lead has gone from eight points two months ago to fifteen points now - among independent voters, he leads by a 50 to 30 point margin…The issue here is not so much that voters have decided that they really want to endorse Barack Obama, but New Jerseyans say Mitt Romney is not an acceptable alternative."

He says in the U.S. Senate race, "We see that Bob Menendez has a forty-nine percent to thirty-four percent lead over Joe Kyrillos - that's up from a forty-four to thirty-five point lead two months ago…We see a real coat-tails effect. There are few issues that differentiate the Senate race from anything else that's going on, and the challenger to the incumbent is unknown, and that adds up to what voters do in the default position, which is to rehire the incumbent."

Murray adds, "Menendez is leading forty-two to twenty-six among independent voters, so that's the important block there…Voters don't see much going on - it's just that their opinion hasn't moved at all, therefore it's just becoming a coat-tails effect, it's tied to the Presidential race…Republican Joe Kyrillos, just four in ten voters know enough about him to have an opinion, which is twenty-seven favorable to twelve percent unfavorable, basically unchanged from 2 months ago…Voters are saying, 'oh, we'll just stick with Bob Menendez'…Only one third of voters, thirty-four percent, say that New Jersey would be different if Joe Kyrillos replaced Bob Menendez in Washington…So why switch horses?"

Both U.S. Senate candidates will face-off live in a special New Jersey 101.5 debate on Wednesday, October 10th at 7 p.m.