WASHINGTON – Another poll, another big lead for Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
A Monmouth University poll says 49 percent of likely Democratic voters support him in the Aug. 13 primary. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone would win 12 percent, according to the survey, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt 8 percent and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver 3 percent. The poll is the first to specifically survey likely Democratic primary voters, according to Monmouth U.
But what’s most interesting is that he leads even in categories where his opponents might have a natural advantage.
Among four factors offered in the poll, experience to get things done in Washington was named the most important: 34% of primary voters said so. Second was being true to core Democratic values, at 22 percent. Holt and Pallone are both Washington veterans and have claimed to be the “true” Democratic progressives in the race.
But among voters who labeled experience as the most important factor, Booker won 42 percent support, compared to 15 percent for Pallone, 10 percent for Holt, and 4 percent for Oliver.
Even in Central Jersey, where Pallone and Holt have their political bases, Booker gets 39 percent of the likely primary vote, compared to 19 percent for Pallone and 16 percent for Holt.
“Cory Booker’s lead appears to be impregnable. There is very little in the poll that shows a path for the other candidates to overtake him,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
And while Booker has often chafed at the “celebrity” label his opponents have tried to slap on him, his overwhelming name-recognition is a key factor in his polling and fund-raising lead.
“At the end of the day, New Jersey Democrats would be satisfied with any of these candidates as their nominee for U.S. Senate. They are simply going for the one they feel they know best,” Murray said.
Another interesting nugget: only 28 percent of voters are aware that the family of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg has endorsed Pallone.
More than 70 percent of likely Democratic primary voters know enough about Booker to form an opinion, and 64 percent have a favorable view of him. Two-thirds to three-quarters of the same voters don’t know enough about Pallone, Holt or Oliver to form an opinion.