Conservative Intel / Harper Polling NEW JERSEY

Conducted:  March 24-25, 2013
Sample Size: 760
Margin of Error:  +/-3.55

Senate GOP Primary (Open Menendez)

To:                  Conservative Intel
From:             Brock McCleary, Harper Polling
Date:               March 27, 2013
Re:                  New Jersey Poll

With Governor Chris Christie’s re-election on cruise control and Mayor Cory Booker as a virtual lock for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2014, New Jersey’s upcoming statewide elections are lacking intrigue. 

However, a federal grand jury investigating Senator Robert Menendez could change all that.  An indictment and subsequent resignation by Menendez would trigger a vacancy appointment by Governor Christie.  The Governor would have the discretion to call a November 2013 special election, with the nominees chosen by the state party committees.  An option Republicans would find appealing given the potential coattails of the Governor.  Otherwise in 2014, a primary and November special election would be held to fill the remaining 4 years of Senator Menendez’s term.

An open Senate seat would likely set off a race of some kind, an appointment or primary, between the state’s top Republicans, namely Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Senator Joe Kyrillos and Senator Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr.  Republican likely voters overwhelmingly back Senator Kean at 41%.  Kean leads among all major demographic groups in the survey.

(Continued below)

Question:  (Republicans only)
In a hypothetical Republican primary election for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, who would you be most likely to support: Kim Guadagno, Tom Kean, Jr., or Joe Kyrillos?
Question:  (Democrats only)
In a hypothetical Democratic primary election for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, who would you be most likely to support: Rob Andrews, Richard Codey, Frank Pallone or Steve Sweeney?

On the other side, this is a chance to poll the state’s top Democrats not named Booker.  Former Governor Richard Codey would start the race with a third of the electorate (33%) under his belt.  Congressmen Andrews and Pallone each garner a respectable 13% fueled largely by support from their home areas.

Menendez Grand Jury Investigation

News about the investigation into Senator Menendez is hitting home with a full 84% report having heard something about the Senator recently.  Of them, 48% say the news has given them an unfavorable opinion of the Senator.  His job approval rating stands at a net -11%.

Have you seen, read or heard anything in the news recently about Senator Robert Menendez?

Question:  (“Yes” respondents only)
Has that information given you a more favorable or unfavorable opinion of Senator Menendez?

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as Senator?

Senate Matchups (Open Menendez)

A battery of hypothetical Senate matchups show Kean beating Andrews 33%-17% Codey leading Kyrillos 34%-25% and Pallone ahead of Guadagno 21%-19%.

Christie's Coattails

The most interesting piece of data in the survey is the Senate Generic Ballot, which shows a virtual tie between the Democratic and Republican candidates.

In an election for Senator, who would you prefer to vote for: the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

These are unusually optimistic circumstances for state Republicans, who have not sent one of their own to the U.S. Senate in more than three decades.  The reason for this favorable environment is simple: Chris Christie.  The Governor blows the roof off the Gubernatorial Generic Ballot, giving Republicans a 19% advantage on a question they would normally lose in New Jersey.  It’s logical that a rising tide at the top of the ballot in 2013 could lift a lot of Republican boats.

The Governor's Race

If the election for Governor were held today, would you prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or Democratic candidate?
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Chris Christie is handling his job as Governor?
If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for: Barbara Buono or Chris Christie?

Christie CPAC Snub

It was recently reported that Governor Christie was not invited to attend the largest annual meeting of conservative Republicans from across the country.  Does this make you more likely or less likely to vote for Chris Christie?

The Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) decision to not invite Governor Christie to speak at their annual gathering plays to the Governor’s favor in his home state.  Nearly half (49%) of all voters say the snub makes them more likely to support the Governor.  In fact, the sentiment is quite bipartisan: 55% of Republicans, 45% of Unaffiliated/Other voters and 46% of Democrats say they’re more likely to support Christie as a result.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery

How would you rate the recovery and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: good, average or bad?

Seventy-seven percent of voters give the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts a “good” or “average” rating.  Of the 23% who say “bad”, 51% blame FEMA.  Only 20% blame Governor Christie.  In the Shore region, only 26% rate the recovery effort as “bad”.

Question:  (“Bad” respondents only)

Who do you blame for the poor state of Sandy recovery efforts: Governor Chris Christie, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or factors beyond anyone’s control?

Favorite Sports Teams