New poll shows tightening US Senate race in NJ

Sen. Bob Menendez's lead over Bob Hugin has shrunk from 17 points to 6 points.

David Madden
August 23, 2018 - 12:06 pm
Bob Menendez

Kevin R. Wexler-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

HAMDEN, Conn. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey's U.S. Senate race has gotten a whole lot closer, according to a newly released statewide poll.

Quinnipiac's polling numbers have tightened in the battle between Democrat incumbent Bob Menendez and Republican opponent Bob Hugin.

"Back in March, Sen. Robert Menendez had a 17 point lead," pollster Mary Snow said. "That lead is now 6 points."

That's 43 percent to 37 percent, with 16 percent undecided. Partisans back their party's candidate, and 37 percent of independents are in Hugin's corner, while 33 percent back Menendez..

So what's changed?

Snow suggests voters are placing ethics high on their list of priorities. Menendez was tried last year on fraud charges in Newark Federal Court. Jurors could not agree on a verdict and prosecutors opted not to seek a retrial.

But the senator's colleagues questioned his behavior and issued a public letter of admonishment. And his opponent are taking full advantage of that.

"Bob Hugin has also been blanketing the airwaves with negative ads targeting Sen. Menendez and reminding voters about the ethical issues surrounding him," Snow added.

Menendez began running his own ads this week questioning how Hugin made his millions in the drug industry.

Half of the poll's respondents believe Menendez did something wrong, and three in 10 aren't sure.

The survey, conducted last week, included over 900 registered voters in New Jersey and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent.