Amid increasingly unfavorable ratings after a public corruption trail, incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has fallen into a dogfight with Republican challenge Bob Hugin in a blue state midterm race, according to the latest Stockton University poll reported by Politico.
The race is ostensibly a dead heat as Sen. Menendez now leads Hugin by a mere 2 percentage points 45-43, which falls within the poll's 4 percent margin of error.
Notably, the six-week corruption trial, which ended in a mistrial over a split jury, is weighing on Menendez's support, as roughly 59 percent of voters say the charges are "extremely important" or "significant" in determining their vote.
Hugin, 63, a former Celgene executive, has said Menendez "disgraced himself and embarrassed New Jersey."
"New Jersey voters deserve to know the truth about their incumbent senator, and we intend to make sure that they do," Hugin said.
Just 30 percent of likely voters view Menendez favorably, while 54 percent view him unfavorably. Just 21 percent have an unfavorable view of Hugin, while 34 percent view him favorably, and 43 percent are not familiar with him yet, according to the poll.
The Stockton University poll surveyed 531 likely New Jersey voters.
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