Poll: Menendez widens lead in N.J.

Here are results of a bipartisan poll based on telephone interviews of 601 likely New Jersey voters conducted from Oct. 23 to 25. The statewide margin of error is 4.0 percentage points. Poll results for South Jersey are based on interviews of 134 likely voters in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties, with a margin of error of 8.5 percentage points.
Here are results of a bipartisan poll based on telephone interviews of 601 likely New Jersey voters conducted from Oct. 23 to 25. The statewide margin of error is 4.0 percentage points. Poll results for South Jersey are based on interviews of 134 likely voters in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties, with a margin of error of 8.5 percentage points.
Posted: October 30, 2012

Democratic incumbent Robert Menendez is running well in front of Republican challenger Joseph Kyrillos in his campaign to return to the U.S. Senate, according to the latest Inquirer New Jersey Poll.

Menendez led Kyrillos by 50 percent to 32 percent, widening the 14-point edge for the senator in the newspaper's previous poll. More voters expressed strong support for Menendez, while Kyrillos' name still failed to ring bells.

"The race isn't over, because it never began," said Jefrey Pollock, president of Global Strategy Group, a Democratic firm that worked with a Republican firm, National Research Inc., to conduct the bipartisan poll. "Menendez has a gigantic lead and is certainly poised to be reelected."

The Inquirer New Jersey Poll was conducted through telephone interviews with 601 likely voters statewide. The survey was taken between last Tuesday and Thursday, and the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The newspaper's previous poll, conducted from Oct. 4 o 8, found Menendez leading by 49 percent to 35 percent.

In South Jersey, Menendez, 55, of Hudson County, holds an even larger lead. He captured 56 percent of those polled, vs. 28 percent for Kyrillos.

The widening lead is consistent with other polls conducted this month. An Oct. 20 Richard Stockton College Poll put Menendez ahead by 22 points, and the latest Quinnipiac poll (Oct. 16) had Menendez leading by 18 points.

Menendez has multiple advantages, not least of which is money. Menendez has raised more than $15 million for his reelection campaign, compared to Kyrillos' $4 million. And much of the $5 million Menendez has spent has gone to television advertising in the New York/North Jersey and Philadelphia/South Jersey media markets, two of the most expensive.

One of Menendez's ads featured Union City, where he grew up in a tenement. That struck a chord with James Shull, 49, of Browns Mills.

"I've been watching his commercials here, and he's a city guy; he came from the street," Shull said. "And that's kind of like me."

Most pollsters expect the race will largely follow what happens in the presidential election. President Obama holds a solid lead in New Jersey, according to the Inquirer New Jersey poll.

Some Republicans polled said they did not know much about Kyrillos but planned to vote for him. New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1974.

"I'm going to vote for the Republican; Menendez is a Democrat," said David Paggi, 60, a retired senior master sergeant in the state Air National Guard who lives in Gloucester County. "All I know is that Menendez backed [Gov. Jon S.] Corzine, and Corzine destroyed the state of New Jersey even worse than it was before."

Kyrillos, 52, a state senator from Monmouth County who has spent 24 years in the Legislature, continues to struggle with name recognition. Of those polled, 20 percent held a favorable opinion of him and 13 percent an unfavorable view, according to the poll.

"Bob Menendez has spent millions of dollars and is only treading water at 50 percent because he's never connected with New Jersey voters," Kyrillos' campaign said.

"Sen. Menendez has run a positive, optimistic campaign backed by his solid track record of fighting for New Jersey's middle class," the Menendez campaign said.


Contact Joelle Farrell at 856-779-3237 or jfarrell@phillynews.com or on Twitter at @joellefarrell.

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