Poll: Kyrillos, Hoping To Unseat Menendez, Is Still Largely Unknown By NJ Voters

STATE — U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has a comfortable nine-point lead over his Republican opponent, Joe Kyrillos, in a head-to-head matchup, according to the latest poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™. Forty-two percent say they’d support Menendez if the election were held today, while 33 percent would vote for Kyrillos and 24 percent remain undecided.

Kyrillos remains unknown to the majority of New Jerseyans. Two-thirds (68 percent) say they’ve never heard of him, and few express any opinion when asked if they have a favorable (10 percent) or unfavorable view (six percent) of him. He is making progress in that regard, though: last September 82 percent said they’d never heard of him.

“The optimistic view for Kyrillos is that he has a unique opportunity to define himself before the campaign begins in earnest,” said poll director Peter Woolley.

Support for Menendez is not particularly strong. When faced with the choice of Menendez and Kyrillos, 74 percent of Democrats choose the Hudson County Democrat. But if offered the choice of Menendez or “someone else,” just half of Democrats choose the incumbent senator.

More than one-in-five voters (22 percent) and one-in-five Democrats (22 percent) say they haven’t heard of Menendez. Among all voters, 32 percent have a favorable view of Menendez, 24 percent have an unfavorable view.

“Menendez is not a name brand in New Jersey, even among Democrats,” said Woolley. “He has spent considerable time raising money for his colleagues in the US Senate, but he has kept a relatively low profile in New Jersey.”

The FDU poll of 797 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from April 30 through May 6, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points. At random, half of those voters were asked their preference between Menendez and Kyrillos, and half between Menendez and “someone else.” The sampling error for the split half of respondents is +/-5.

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