New Jersey Senate Race Tightening? Maybe, But Not Enough To Threaten Booker

A lot of people raised their eyebrows this morning when Quinnipiac released a poll showing that the gap between Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Republican candidate Steve Lonegan had shrunk by half of what it has been in previous polls:

A new poll on the U.S. Senate race suggests Cory Booker’s expected blowout over Steve Lonegan may not be in the bag.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican Lonegan trailing Democrat Booker by a closer-than-expected 12 points. The survey of of 948 likely voters shows Booker with 53 percent support to Lonegan’s 41 percent.

The two men are running in the Oct. 16 special election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died in June.

Because the poll — which was conducted from Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 — is the first one Quinnipiac conducted using a likely voter model, there is no previous poll to compare it directly to.

What makes the poll stand out, though, is that other polls, also targeting Likely Voters, show a far bigger lead for Booker:

RCP Jersey


The Likely Voter model for this election is likely difficult for pollsters in that it is both a Special Election and one that is being held less than a month before the state’s General Election in November. So, it may not be entirely clear who the likely voters in October are actually going to be. In either case, though, the fact that the Quinnipac poll is so far of other recent Likely Voter polls suggests that we’re dealing with an outlier. Even if we’re not though, a 12 point lead less than a month before the election is nothing to sneeze at and, given that New Jersey is a heavily Democratic state, it seems unlikely that Booker has anything to worry about here.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.