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August 14, 2008

NJ Sen Even In Club Poll

The contest between Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg and Republican ex-Rep. Dick Zimmer is neck and neck, according to a new poll sponsored by the Club for Growth. It's no surprise coming out of the Garden State, though, where voters never seem to make up their mind until the very end of an election.

The poll, conducted by the Republican firm Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, surveyed 400 likely voters between 7/30-31 for a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. Lautenberg and Zimmer were tested, along with five other minor party candidates. The sample breakdown was 41% Democratic voters, 25% Republicans and 34% independents or others.

General Election Matchup
Zimmer............36
Lautenberg......35
Other.................5

Just 26% of respondents say Lautenberg deserves re-election, while 63% say it's time to give someone new a chance. The incumbent's favorable ratings would look bad in most states, but in New Jersey, where most incumbents are unpopular, Lautenberg's 46% favorable to 39% unfavorable rating isn't bad. Zimmer is seen favorably by 23% of New Jersey voters, while 14% see him unfavorably.

The Club for Growth poll comes two days after a Quinnipiac University survey showed Lautenberg leading by seven points, with a significantly smaller pool of undecided voters.

Update: We should have noted that Club for Growth is a conservative anti-tax group that typically endorses Republicans. Zimmer, though, has not yet been endorsed by the Club. Democrats suggest the poll oversamples certain Republican-heavy areas while undersampling Democratic turf.

Too, one might question the survey's question order; respondents are asked a total of eleven questions before the Senate matchup in the Club's poll, while respondents are asked just a screening question before the Senate matchup in the Quinnipiac poll.