FDU Poll: Booker has wide edge over Lautenberg

A Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll this morning pitting veteran U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) against U.S. Senate hopeful Newark Mayor Cory Booker gives Booker a clear 66-45 favorability edge over the incumbent.

More people (83%) know Lautenberg, according to the poll, but Booker is right behind him with 75% name ID.

Among self-identified Democrats and Democratic leaners, Booker bests Lautenberg for the Democratic nomination: 42 to 20%.

“These numbers suggest that some difficult days may lie ahead for the incumbent senator should he seek re-election,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “Senator Lautenberg’s unfavorables, coupled with voter preferences for Booker as the Democratic standard bearer in the general election, complicate the landscape for this living legend amongst New Jersey politicians.”

The poll essentially shows the 43-year-old vegetarian shutting down the 88-year-old WWII veteran. According to FDU, Booker is favored among men (45%) and women (41%), the young (38%) and old (40%), and among whites (40%) and non-whites (47%).

“Booker has clearly leveraged his position as mayor of Newark to an admirable degree,” said Jenkins. “But whether late night rescues of constituents from burning buildings and high profile spats with city officials can translate into a winning campaign remains to be seen. At least for now, however, Mayor Booker begins his candidacy with a healthy amount of public support.”

New Jerseyans’ evaluations of the president and direction of the country demonstrate that although opinion is divided over whether the country is headed in the right direction (43%) or on the wrong track (45%), Garden State voters are decidedly supportive of President Obama’s job performance. Fifty-seven percent approve of the job that President Obama is doing, while only a third (32%) give him disapproving marks.

“Partisan acrimony over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ doesn’t appear to have hurt the president in the Garden State,” said Jenkins. “His 57 percent approval rating is the highest PublicMind has measured for him in over three years. Executive leadership at both the state and national level are, for the moment, working for a majority of New Jersey voters as the new year gets underway.”  

Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted the statewide poll of 700 voters by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Jan. 2 through 6. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.

"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.