A whopping 44% of New Jersey voters say they’ve never heard of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate; another 29% say that while they have heard of him, they have no opinion of him. In fact, according to the most recent poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, only one in four voters have an opinion of former congressman Dick Zimmer: 16% say they have a favorable opinion of him while 10% say their view is unfavorable.
“If three quarters of the public know nothing about the Republican nominee for the United States Senate, then he’s certainly got a long climb,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. Even among self-identified Republican voters, Zimmer is not known: A majority (62%) say they don’t have an opinion of him or have never heard of him at all.
Meanwhile, incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg is seen favorably by 41% and unfavorably by 28% of all voters, a 4:3 ratio. But among Democrats he boasts 53% favorable opinion against just 14% unfavorable, better than a 3:1 ratio.
Both candidates had three-way primary fights for their nomination.
Asked who they might prefer at this early point, 45% of registered voters say Lautenberg to 28% for Zimmer.
“At this early stage, the mismatch in name recognition between the two candidates is reflected in the mismatch of voter preferences,” said Woolley. “The good news for the Republican nominee is that he’s got all summer to campaign. The bad news is that summer is only eight weeks long.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 589 New Jersey registered voters statewide was conducted from June 17 through June 22 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239; Dan Cassino 973.896.7072
For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.