Poll: Booker leads Lautenberg by 21

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 file photograph, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, talks with Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, during a ceremony in Newark, N.J. On Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, Booker ruled out a bid for New Jersey governor and is eyeing a run for U.S. Senate in 2014. Booker's announcement on Twitter Thursday ended months of speculation over whether the Democratic Party's biggest draw would seek to challenge Gov. Chris Christie in next year's governor's race. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

WASHINGTON -- Newark Mayor Cory Booker leads Sen. Frank Lautenberg by 21 points in a potential head-to-head match up, a Quinnipiac University poll said today.

The survey was released one day after Lautenberg suggested Booker, a fellow Democrat, deserved a "spanking" for the way he has openly maneuvered toward a New Jersey Senate seat that Lautenberg currently holds. Booker responded (maybe) obliquely on Twitter.

Lautenberg is up for re-election in 2014, but Booker is far more popular, the poll found. Voters give him a 54-16 approval rating, compared to 42-32 for Lautenberg.

With Lautenberg turning 89 today, 71 percent of voters said his age is a liability.

Lautenberg has not said if he will run for another term. Booker has strongly signaled that he will run but has not officially jumped into the race.

Separately, New Jersey's other Democratic Senator, Bob Menendez, had a 51-33 approval rating.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,647 registered voters with a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. The poll included 616 Democrats with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.