A new poll finds State Senate President Steve Sweeney with the most name recognition among Democratic gubernatorial possibles.

FDU/Public Mind Poll Director Krista Jenkins said Sweeney is identifiable by 56 percent of registered voters in the state, with an 18 percent favorability rating.

"We find that he has increased his name recognition from November of 2015, which is the last time the question was asked," she said.

But Jenkins says he also increased his unfavorability rating from 16 to 22 percent

Behind him are other possible Democratic contenders — Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Phil Murphy, both known by one in four in the poll. And Jenkins said that was only slightly better than Matt Alexander ... wait ...who?

"We actually polled on a totally fictional Jersey politician by the name of 'Matt Alexander' and he is known by 18 percent, which isn't too far off of the 25 and 26 percent mark that we measured for Fulop and for Murphy," Jenkins said.

Jenkins also said "(Sweeney) certainly has an edge, given his visibility and the leadership position that he holds. I think that that could both help and hurt him. Of course, if something happens in the legislature that is good, at least deemed good by voters, he can certainly take credit for that. Of course, if things are bad, he can be the person who bears the brunt of voter angst in that regard."

Jenkins also said for a time, the 2017 New Jersey governor's race will of course be obscured by the current presidential battle.

"Once we get beyond that, and we start to see really the end of the Christie years, it will become that much easier for people to make a name for themselves and introduce themselves to voters in a way that hopefully puts them in a positive light," Jenkins said.

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.



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