Eagleton: Menendez beats Kyrillos 44-22%

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) beats state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) 44-22% in a statewide head-to-head, according to this morning’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

An additional 26% say they are unsure and 7% say they would not vote.

An unnamed Republican does better than Kyrillos in the Senate race, though still loses to a generic Democrat by a 46 percent to 34 percent margin.

Lack of name ID dogs the veteran Kyrillos, as 50% have no opinion or are unsure (30%) about the GOP challenger. Eleven percent have a favorable impression and 9 percent do not.

Menendez doesn’t pack much of a wow factor either, according to the poll.

Thirty-seven percent to 24 percent feel more positive toward him, but nearly 40 percent have no opinion of the Democratic incumbent.

“Menendez’s favorability numbers crept up slightly early last year, but for an incumbent, he has a very low profile,” said poll Director David Redlawsk, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Kyrillos, however, is completely unknown at this point, a huge advantage for Menendez. We certainly expect that the numbers will tighten as the campaign develops, but Menendez starts off in a good position.”

Democrats also hold a significant lead over Republicans statewide in an early 2012 U.S. House election ballot test, according to the poll.

Statewide, 45 percent of registered voters would support an unnamed Democrat, 28 percent would vote Republican, 11 percent would not vote and 15 percent are unsure. 

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.