NJ Has A 2012 U.S. Senate Race? [AUDIO]
One of New Jersey's two U.S. Senate seats is up for grabs this November, but the race is generating very little excitement to say the least.
One long-time political expert says this should come as no surprise.
"The only politicians New Jersey voters are interested in are the Governor and their own (State) Senator and (two) Assemblymen," says Quinnipiac University poll director Mickey Carroll. "The statewide recognition in New Jersey for everybody but the Governor is always way down and it's too bad. A Senator is a pretty important guy. There's only 100 of them in the nation and two of them come from New Jersey."
Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey's senior U.S. Senator has been criticizing Governor Chris Christie for cancelling the ARC Tunnel project, but Carroll asks and answers, "Does anybody really care about Lautenberg's involvement? No."
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is the first New Jersey Hispanic Senator and one of few in the country. Carroll says, "That's a big story, but it doesn't seem to impress New Jersey voters who pay attention only to the Governor."
According to Carroll's latest survey, Menendez who is up for re-election this year leads his little-known Republican challenger, GOP State Senator Joe Kyrillos, 44 - 35%, with support of 79 - 5% among Democrats and a slight 38 - 34% edge among Independent voters. Republicans back Kyrillos 78 - 8%. By a 35 - 27% margin, voters have a favorable opinion of Menendez, with 37% who don't know enough about him to form an opinion. For Kyrillos, 79% don't know enough about him to form an opinion.
"U.S. Senator Robert Menendez vs. State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos? At this stage, a single-digit lead for Menendez," says Carroll. "No one knows Kyrillos, but Menendez's numbers are lackluster, to say the least. This race could get interesting."
From April 3 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,607 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. The survey includes 513 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent.