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New Jersey Senate: Lautenberg’s Lead Grows in the Garden State, Support Climbs Over 50%

Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg has expanded his lead over challenger Dick Zimmer in the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Garden State finds Lautenberg on top 51% to 33%.

When “leaners” are included, the Democrat has a 53% to 38% advantage. The latest poll marks the first in which the incumbent receives over 50% support.

Lautenberg, who is seeking his fifth term in the Senate, led 49% to 36% in July. Just a month earlier, right after the state’s primary elections, the two candidates were in a virtual tie. Zimmer is a former member of the House of Representatives.

This month, the incumbent is backed by 79% of New Jersey Democrats while Zimmer is supported by 72% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, Lautenberg has a 45% to 28% lead. The Democrat has a dominant 60% to 25% lead among women, but Zimmer has a 43% to 40% advantage among men.

Favorability ratings for the incumbent have slipped a bit over the past month. Lautenberg is viewed favorably by 48%, down from 50% last month. He is viewed unfavorably by 45%, up from 41% in June. Zimmer’s ratings also worsened in July. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters in New Jersey have a favorable view of the challenger, down from 45% last month. Zimmer is viewed unfavorably by 41%, up from 35% in June. More than one in five voters (22%) still have no opinion of the republican challenger.

Many Republican Senate seats are potentially in play for Democrats including seats in Alaska,New Hampshire,Oregon,New Mexico,Colorado,Mississippi,Minnesota,Virginia, and Kentucky. As a result, Democrats are expected to add several seats to their Senate majority this November.

Though the Garden State is struggling with a budget deficit, most voters are opposed to several proposals suggested to alleviate the situation. While 61% of voters oppose raising tolls in the New Jersey Turnpike, 84% oppose raising taxes. Voters are more evenly divided on the issue of state services, with 35% who favor cutting state services and 40% who oppose the action. While a third (33%) of voters favor laying off more state workers to help lower the budget, nearly half (47%) are opposed to the idea.

However, New Jersey voters are in favor of offshore oil drilling in order to help reduce gasoline prices--57% who support lifting the ban and 30% who oppose it. These figures are close to the national average.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s ratings have changed little over the past month. The Democrat earns good or excellent ratings from just 27% of voters, while 34% say he is doing a poor job.

On a lighter note, Bruce is the king of rock and roll in New Jersey, according to voters. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters say Springsteen, who just finished a string of shows in the state in late July, is the Garden State’s king of rock and roll, while 27% of voters give that title to Jon Bon Jovi.

Barack Obama continues to lead John McCain in New Jersey’s Presidential election.

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This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on August 4, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


New Jersey Trends: Zimmer vs. Lautenberg

Date

Zimmer

Lautenberg

10/07/2008

37%

51%

42%

49%

33%

51%

36%

49%

44%

45%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in New Jersey

 

Lautenberg

Zimmer

Very Favorable

12%

8%

Somewhat Favorable

32%

34%

Somewhat Unfavorable

17%

26%

Very Unfavorable

26%

13%

Not Sure

12%

19%


Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary

Republicans

160

Democrats

173

Toss-Ups & Leaners

205


Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.