Booker Over Bell by 11 Points in New Poll
Can you name the Republican challenger in this year's U.S. Senate race in New Jersey? The answer is Jeff Bell, but those who knew that are in the minority according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, which also found that Democratic incumbent Cory Booker has a double-digit lead over Bell.
"The numbers among likely voters, this is a poll of likely voters, Booker is up 51 to 40 percent over Jeff Bell," said Maurice "Mickey" Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. "The poll confirms what politicians have been saying for months, which is that Booker is a shoo-in."
Women support Booker over Bell by 20 points. Men are divided. As expected, the overwhelming majority of Democrats favor Booker while the vast majority of Republicans back Bell.
By a 54 to 26 percent margin, New Jerseyans have a favorable opinion of Booker. Bell simply isn't that well-known, according to the survey.
"Sixty-five percent of New Jerseyans don't know enough about him to make a plus or minus decision," Carroll said. "He's got a recognition problem."
Could that low recognition number mean that Bell's message is not resonating?
"There is no message," Carroll said. "Who? What? Bell? What's his message? His message is that he's not Booker and that he's a Republican."
However, there has been a bit of a message conveyed from Bell. He said he supports the so-called "gold standard," which links the value of the dollar to a specific amount of gold. That position has not energized voters, according to the poll.
The Republican could get a boost from Gov. Chris Christie, who has formally endorsed Bell and has helped raise money for him.