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New Jersey Senate: Lautenberg Widens Lead

Democrat Frank Lautenberg, seeking a fifth term in the U.S. Senate, can breathe a little easier this month. The incumbent leads Republican challenger Dick Zimmer 49% to 36% in the latest Rasmussen reports telephone survey in New Jersey. When “leaners” are included, Lautenberg leads the Republican 50% to 37%.

Last month, the two candidates were virtual tied, with Lautenberg on top by just a single percentage point. That poll was taken just days after Lautenberg survived a primary challenge that raised questions about whether he was too old to serve.

Still, while the new poll provides better news for the Democrat, any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered potentially vulnerable. Lautenberg has been just below the 50% mark in the last several Rasmussen polls and in polls conducted by other organizations. Lautenberg is one of only two Democratic senators seeking re-election who is polling below 50% (the other is Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu).

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.

Lautenberg has a solid 55% to 29% lead among women in New Jersey, but trails Zimmer 45% to 41% among men. The incumbent is backed by 85% of Democrats and 11% of Republicans in the state. Zimmer, a former U.S. congressman, earns support from 74% of Republicans and 7% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, Zimmer leads by fourteen.

Half of voters in the Garden State (50%) have a favorable opinion of Lautenberg, while 41% share an unfavorable view. Zimmer is viewed favorably by 45% of voters and unfavorably by 35%.

Ratings for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (D) continue to slip. Just 27% of voters give him good or excellent ratings, while 40% say he is doing a poor job. Last month, his numbers were 29% good or excellent, and 37% poor.

While New Jersey is generally considered a Democratic state in Presidential elections, John McCain is more competitive than expected this year.

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This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on July 7, 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.