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« Strategy Memo: Time Out | Blog Home Page | CO: Udall +11 »

NJ 07: Stender (D) +3

After she came just three thousand votes away from winning in 2006, New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda Stender is one of Democrats' top challengers this year. A new poll conducted for her campaign shows Stender is ahead, but fickle New Jersey voters are far from making up their minds.

The poll, conducted for Stender by Anzalone Liszt Research, surveyed 500 likely voters between 8/20-25 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Stender, state Senator Leonard Lance and independent candidates Michael Hsing and Tom Abrams were tested.

General Election Matchup
Stender...........36
Lance.............33
Hsing..............9
Abrams.............2

Stender...........43
Lance.............42

Generic Dem.......40
Generic GOPer.....40

McCain............45 (-3 from last, 4/08)
Obama.............43 (+3)

The overall poll results look like better news for Republicans than for Democrats. Yes, Stender's ahead, but many had assumed Stender was almost a shoo-in to steal retiring Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson's seat. Lance, who came through a competitive primary, actually led Stender's first benchmark poll by five points, according to the memo accompanying the poll results. That the Republican is trailing by just three points with so many voters remaining undecided is better news than many Republicans expected.

Barack Obama and John McCain are unlikely to be significant factors for or against either candidate, given the tightness of the presidential race in the district. President Bush won the district by six points in 2004 after winning it by just a single point in 2000.

But Hsing, the former Republican and local township councilman now running as a third-party candidate, could dramatically aid Stender's bid, the pollsters note. Hsing will not have the resources to seriously compete, but he is already pulling nine points, most of it from voters who would otherwise back Lance.