Rutgers poll: Menendez holds 12-pt. lead over Kyrillos

NEW BRUNSWICK – Incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-NJ), holds a 12-point lead over New Jersey state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown among likely voters in the race for the U.S. Senate, 47 percent to 35 percent, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Ten percent are unsure and 8 percent say they would prefer “someone else.”

Kyrillos remains virtually unknown to most voters two months before Election Day; three-quarters say they have no opinion or don’t know him while 15 percent have a favorable impression and 10 percent are unfavorable, the latest poll shows.

Menendez, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 28 percent. Twenty-six percent are unsure and 7 percent don’t know who he is.

“Senator Kyrillos is fighting an uphill battle for attention against a well-funded incumbent in a blue state,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University.

“His first TV ads started right after we polled, so the lack of awareness is not overly surprising. Still, he has a long way to go to get voters’ attention.”

“As we noted earlier this year, Kyrillos’ biggest challenge is simply getting known,” said Redlawsk. “While Menendez’s favorability has improved, Kyrillos has been stuck. Independents are not sold on Menendez, so Kyrillos may have an opportunity, especially if he can improve his base support.”

Bond issue
New Jersey voters will also weigh in on a $750 million education bond to be used for new academic buildings and technological upgrades at colleges and universities. Likely voters approve of the measure 56 percent to 27 opposed. The remainder is unsure. 

Results are from a poll of 916 registered voters conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Aug. 23–25, just prior to the party conventions.

Within this sample, 688 respondents are identified as likely voters in the U.S. Senate election and are the subjects of this release.

The likely voter sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato