More than half of New Jersey voters support Newark Mayor Cory Booker to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg in Congress, a new poll has found.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey
conducted July 2-7, Booker would win 52 percent of the Democratic vote in the special Aug. 13 primary. That's a 42 percent lead over the next-most-popular candidate, Rep. Frank Pallone, who drew only 10 percent support from the poll's 1,068 respondents.
Rep. Rush Holt trailed Pallone at 8 percent, and just 3 percent of respondents voiced support for state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.
Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.
In the Republican primary, Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota and two-time gubernatorial hopeful, leads with 62 percent compared to 5 percent support for physician Alieta Eck.
Twenty-eight percent of GOP voters said they are undecided.
Booker also is the runaway favorite in the Oct. 16 special general election. The poll shows Booker ahead of Lonegan, 53 percent to 30 percent. The survey found Lonegan trailing Pallone and Holt, but by much smaller margins.
In a match-up with Pallone, Lonegan would draw 34 percent compared to the Democrat's 38 percent. A race against Holt, however, would be tighter. Voters said they would vote for Holt over Lonegan, 37 percent to 36 percent.
"It looks as if the speculation was right: Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be a shoo-in for the U.S. Senate," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Steve Lonegan gets the bedrock Republican 30 percent, and not much more, against everyone. The Republican race looks even more one-sided than the Democratic primary; Alieta Eck hardly registers," he said.
The poll also found that Booker has a 56 percent favorability rating among voters, compared to 16 percent who view him unfavorably and 27 percent who have no opinion.
Large majorities of those surveyed said they don't know enough about the othe candidates to form opinions. Lonegan is better-known than all the others, but 54 percent of survey respondents said they have no opinion of him.
"In the favorable-unfavorable measure, only Booker comes close to being a household name," Carroll said.
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