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According to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, Newark mayor Cory Booker remains the overwhelming favorite in New Jersey’s upcoming special election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.

Booker leads each of his rivals for the Democratic nomination — U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, and New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver — by over 30 percent; 49 percent of likely voters support Booker for the nomination, compared to 12 percent for Pallone, 8 percent for Holt, and 3 percent for Oliver, while 28 percent remain undecided.

Booker, who has been the frontrunner since before Lautenberg had even declared in February that he would not seek re-election, has been the subject of many attacks since the campaign ramped into full swing. They do not appear to have made much of an impact, however; Booker’s favorability rating among likely Democratic primary voters remains a sky-high 64 percent, while just 8 percent hold an unfavorable view of the two-term mayor.

Booker’s rivals are also reasonably well liked — none has an unfavorable rating of over 10 percent — but they are also more or less unknown; 65 percent of likely Democratic primary voters have no opinion of Pallone, 70 percent have no opinion of Holt, and 76 percent have no opinion of Oliver. So although voters would be happy enough with any of the four candidates — 41 percent say they would be “not really upset” if their favored candidate did not win the nomination, compared to 41 percent who would be “somewhat upset” and just 14 percent who would be “very upset” — voters appear poised to go with the household name.

Pallone had hoped to shake up the race by winning the endorsement of Senator Lautenberg’s family, but that has not been the case; just 28 percent of likely voters are aware of the Lautenbergs’ endorsement, and only 16 percent say that it makes them more likely to vote for Congressman Pallone.

The Monmouth poll echoes the results of a Quinnipiac University poll earlier in the month, which also found Booker running away with the nomination.

Should Booker triumph in the August 13th primary, he would be the heavy favorite to defeat the likely Republican nominee, former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan, in the October 13th general election.

Photo: BBC World Service via


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