Most New Jersey voters have never heard of the Republican candidates who hope to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg in November. According to the most recent results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll, 87% have not heard of Anne Estabrook, 84% have not heard of Joe Pennacchio, and 89% have not heard of Murray Sabrin. Among the handful who say they have heard of them, the dominant sentiment is “no opinion.”
The result is no better among the Republican voters who get to choose among the Republican candidates in June: 87% haven’t heard of Estabrook, 82% haven’t heard of Pennacchio, and 83% haven’t heard of Sabrin.
“No brand name has entered the race for the Republicans,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “In part, that is a reflection of poor prospects for the Republican Party nationally which is bogged down with an unpopular President, an unpopular war, and a softening economy.”
By contrast, 85% of New Jersey voters have heard of Lautenberg and 42% have a favorable opinion of him against 23% who have an unfavorable opinion of him. Among Democrats, the Senator does even better: 50% have a favorable opinion of him against just 11% who have an unfavorable opinion. “He’s a brand name and they like him.” said Woolley.
New Jersey’s other U.S. Senator, Bob Menendez, who is not up for reelection until 2012, continues to have anemic support: 30% have a favorable view, 26% have an unfavorable view, and 30% have no opinion while 14% don’t know who he is.
Also not running this year is Republican Steve Lonegan, former Mayor of Bogota, NJ. He has been an outspoken opponent of the governor’s fiscal plans and now 25% of voters and a third of Republicans (34%) say they know him, putting him ahead of the Republican candidates for Lautenberg’s Senate seat.
Also not running this year, and perhaps for good reason, is Wally Edge, a purported columnist with an uncanny trove of inside information about New Jersey office holders and operatives. But 96% of New Jersey voters say they never heard of Mr. Edge. “I’m not surprised that Wally doesn’t register with voters,” said Woolley. “No matter how many times I go on the Walk to Washington with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, I never run into him, or her.”
Should Wally Edge run for the New Jersey Senate seat? “Wally Edge proves the rule,” said Woolley. “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 795 registered voters statewide was conducted from February 18 through February 24 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239
For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.