Zimmer Trails Lautenberg Quietly

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Former congressman Dick Zimmer, the Republican nominee for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat, continues to have difficulty gaining electoral traction. According to the latest poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, 41% of voters say they haven’t heard of Zimmer and another third (33%) say they have no opinion of him.

Frank Lautenberg, the Democratic incumbent, leads Zimmer among likely voters by 46% to 35%.

“All the attention has been on the national race,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “And both of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates have been off-stage in this year’s presidential drama.”

Four of five Democrats (78%) say they’ll support Lautenberg, while 69% of Republicans say they’ll support Zimmer.  But a third of Republicans (35%) say they haven’t heard of Zimmer, and another third (32%) say they have no opinion of him.  At this point, one in four Republicans (23%) say they have a favorable opinion of him while about one in ten (9%) say they have an unfavorable opinion of him.

By contrast, Lautenberg is known to nine of ten voters (91%), and 41% hold a favorable view of him while 29% have an unfavorable view. But among Democrats, 55% have a favorable view of the incumbent senator and 15% have an unfavorable view.  In fact, more Republicans have a favorable view of Lautenberg (29%) than have a favorable view of Zimmer (23%).

Among Democrats, as many have a favorable view of Zimmer (12%) as have an unfavorable view (12%), while the remainder (76%) haven’t heard of him or have no opinion of him. “This is a strange situation to be in two months before an election,” said Woolley. “The Republican is so unfamiliar to Democrats that they don’t even have a poor opinion of him.”

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 840 likely New Jersey voters statewide was conducted from Sept. 4 through Sept. 7 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.

Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239

For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.

Copyright © 2008, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved. FDU PublicMind Poll [Latest update 080910]