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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

NJ-Sen: Kean Leads, but Huge Undecideds

Posted by DavidNYC

Sometimes, I think pollsters feel pressure to present "clean" data - they word questions in such a way as to produce definite answers, and push leaners when they waver. This makes poll results easier to analyze, but probably skews the picture. In real life, for non-political junkies, many people don't make up their minds a year in advance, and so it is with Fairleigh Dickinson's latest poll (registered voters, no trendlines):

Menendez: 25
Kean: 36
Undecided: 37
(MoE: ±4%)

Though their overall name rec is similar, Kean's favorability is a good bit better than Menendez's (41-12 vs. 33-17). Kean has the advantage of bearing his father's name - but don't forget that Menendez will soon have the advantage of being an incumbent senator. That 37% undecided could get split up a lot of ways. My gut tells me that ultimately Menendez will prevail due to the favorable partisan split in NJ, but I think this race is going to be tougher than we'd like. I think New Jersey is sort of like the New York Mets: Sometimes the Mets put together decent teams and win a few, but they always make you sweat. Same with Jersey.

P.S. PoliticsNJ is reporting that Frank Pallone won't challenge Menendez. I don't know if PoliticsNJ is a reliable source, but hopefully we'll see an official confirm of that soon. Also, Corzine will soon decide whether to call a special election to fill Menendez's House seat, or just wait until the regular June primary/November general. This is a super-Dem district, so I imagine the real action will be at primary time.

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Technorati

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how can you make a judgement of any kind with the level of undecideds being so high and 11 months out?

Posted by: bruhrabbit [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2006 12:16 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

FDU is really bad at polling, so I wouldn't worry too much. They were awful during the governor's race, and were frequently at odds with the other, more reputable polling services. Kean simply has too many negatives: being a Republican in a Democratic state during a time of hyper-partisanship; being decidedly to the right of his father, including his support for Bush's foreign policy; conservatives, who won't see him as acceptable because of his name; his age; his problems on the stump; and, of course, the fact that he'll need to fight to even keep it close in Bergen, which is must-win for him. Sure, the papers have been playing up the Hudson angle, and it seems to be conventional wisdom that Menendez's Hudson ties are going to hurt him... until, of course, Hudson voters come out in record numbers, give Menendez 90% of the vote, and generally help swamp Kean. The race isn't in the bag (what race is, eleven months out? Even Obama looked like he'd have a tough race at this point), but I think the NRSC is overrating Kean and not looking at the broader factors at play in this race. Which is fine, because they'll be dumping money into one of the nation's most expensive states to campaign in, which means less money to campaign in Maryland, or Minnesota, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or... well, you get the idea.

Posted by: sucopsucoh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2006 02:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment