Booker Cruising in Jersey Senate Poll; Corbett Improves in Pa.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, as part of their March 4-10 Garden State survey (702 registered New Jersey voters; 323 Democratic primary voters), studied the upcoming 2014 open Senate race. Their findings present good news for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and suggest that both Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) have quite a bit of ground to close if they intend to enter the race. Of the two, Pallone is likely to run, while Holt’s candidacy is only a possibility.

According to the FDU results, Booker would lead Holt and Pallone 50-7-4 percent, respectively, if a Democratic primary vote were held during the present period. With such a wide spread, either or both of these potential candidates will have to create a negative image of Booker if they are to substantially gain on him. Typically, big city mayors don’t do particularly well in statewide electoral contests normally because the voters not residing in the largest city, and particularly so for rural voters, often have a negative image of big city politics. Therefore, we can expect to see serious questions raised about the city’s government and state of the local economy before Democratic voters go to the polls in June of 2014.

Booker is in equally good shape for the general election. The only potential GOP candidate tested is Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera, who said he is considering entering the race as a Republican. When paired with Booker, the Newark mayor is staked to a commanding 52-21 percent lead.

Better Corbett Numbers

Yesterday we covered a Public Policy Polling survey (March 8-10; 504 registered Pennsylvania voters) that showed Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to be in dire political straights, but the new Quinnipiac University study (March 6-11; 1,116 registered Pennsylvania voters) casts a somewhat different light upon his situation.

Though Corbett’s job approval is still upside down in the Q-Poll (39:49 percent favorable to unfavorable), the finding is better than PPP’s miserable 33:58 percent mark.

But, it’s the ballot test questions where the Q-Poll shows Corbett as being more competitive. Against Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), the governor trails just 39-42 percent. PPP projected a 45-34 percent Schwartz advantage. If state Treasurer Rob McCord became the Democratic nominee, Corbett would lead him 42-38 percent. PPP showed Corbett trailing McCord in exactly the same result as Schwartz. And, against virtually unknown businessman Tom Wolf, where PPP posted the governor losing 33-42 percent, the Q-Poll forecasts a tie between the two men at 39 percent.

Though the two surveys were conducted during the same period, the Q-Poll sampling universe was more than twice as large (1,116 to 504). Normally, the larger polling samples tend to be more accurate.

Secondly, though PPP had a strong 2012 election cycle in terms of their survey predictions, for a sitting governor to record consistent support only in the mid-30s, with no major scandal engulfing him, would cut against normal statistical political patterns. Therefore, the Q-Poll results do seem more realistic.

Regardless of which these two polls is the more reliable, Gov. Corbett clearly has major political problems and can expect to find himself at the top of the list of endangered incumbents seeking re-election in 2014.

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