Surprise: Booker way ahead in special-election Quinnipiac polling

posted at 1:21 pm on June 10, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Believe it or not, there actually is good news for Republicans in the first Quinnipiac polling on New Jersey’s US Senate special election slated for October.  Newark Mayor Cory Booker blows everyone out of the water, as is to be expected, but Republicans have plenty of upside — and at least a few months to make their case:

Newark Mayor Cory Booker has substantial leads over relatively unknown Democratic primary and general election opponents in a first look at the New Jersey U.S. Senate race by the Quinnipiac University poll today.

Mayor Booker gets 53 percent of the Democratic primary vote, with 10 percent for U.S. Rep. Rush Holt and 9 percent for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Another 23 percent are undecided. The survey concluded Sunday night, before State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver tossed her hat into the ring.

In a general election matchup, Booker tops Republican Steve Lonegan 54 – 27 percent. Other possible matchups are closer as Pallone leads Lonegan 39 – 29 percent and Holt tops the Republican 36 – 31 percent.

New Jersey voters have a 57 – 14 percent favorable opinion of Booker, while 25 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. The “don’t know enough” measures for the other contenders are:

  • Pallone – 68 percent;
  • Holt – 67 percent;
  • Lonegan – 62 percent.

Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll notes that Booker has the name recognition advantage, but asks whether Booker will have the political organization outside of Newark to take advantage of it.  I doubt that will be a problem; Democrats had been preparing Booker ever since the Democratic National Convention for a state-wide race, although they thought it would be against Chris Christie.  Christie’s embrace of Obama and his wildly popular governance through Hurricane Sandy forced Booker into the Senate race instead, but that takes the same kind of organization — and now that Frank Lautenberg has passed away, some of his organization will likely end up in Booker’s.

The real question will be whether a Republican can take advantage of the next four months to become a household name in New Jersey.  This is where Christie could have an impact on the race — other than to put it in the least favorable terms for Republicans possible, which the scheduling already does.  He’s leading the gubernatorial polling by 30 points over Barbara Buono, 59/29, including a whopping 70/18 among independents.

So far, Lonegan is the only Republican in the race.  If that remains the case — and there probably aren’t a lot of Republicans eager to square off against Cory Booker in both 2013 and 2014 — then Christie should help raise Lonegan’s profile and let some of his popularity boost the GOP in the special election.  That wouldn’t put Christie at much risk for his re-election and might give his party a fighting chance for the election. It would still be a long shot against the popular Booker, but Lonegan at least has plenty of room for growth, and fares slightly better than Buono in the matchup.

However, Jamelle Bouie thinks Booker isn’t quite the shoo-in that he appears:

All of this is good news for Booker, but it doesn’t mean he’s safe. Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer highlights the extent to which Booker isn’t loved in the New Jersey political establishment. The New Jersey Democrats who have lined up against Booker believe that he’s a showhorse — someone who hasn’t devoted the necessary effort to his job as Newark mayor, and instead has worked to build a national profile for himself, independent of his actual performance:

New Jersey political insiders said Democratic competitors will seize on the narratives that have persisted around Booker for years — that he spends too much time outside of New Jersey; that he is more popular outside the state than inside; that his record in Newark can’t hold up to scrutiny — and that they play up their longstanding relationships with the state party apparatus, which Booker has been known to challenge.

In defense of Booker, it’s hard to see how he could have avoided this. In general, African Americans have a hard time moving up the political ladder, and winning statewide office. This is especially true for black politicians who serve majority black constituencies; not only are they somewhat out of the political mainstream — on account of the particular interests of black voters — but they have a harder time fundraising and building a broader political base. It’s unfortunate, but opportunities are limited for politicians who are explicitly identified with African American voters. It’s why Barack Obama strays away from discussion of race. His blackness can hurt his political appeal (as was true during the Henry Louis Gates controversey) as much as enhance it.

All of this is to say that Booker’s ambition required him to immediately reach outside of Newark, and begin building the national image that could broaden his appeal and form the basis for a statewide run. And the irony of this, as Cramer details, is that it provides fodder for his Democratic opponents.

We’ll see just how prescient this analysis is in part by seeing how many Democrats and Republicans sign up as potential opponents to the Booker juggernaut.  If he’s perceived as vulnerable more within New Jersey than he seems outside of it, we’ll get a flood of candidates entering into both primaries.  If not, we can assume that the perception outside of the Garden State matches the political reality within it.

Update: Actually, Doug Mataconis notes, the deadline for entry is almost here:

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I’m shocked!

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Which Cory Booker?

Ward Cleaver on June 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The real question will be whether a Republican can take advantage of the next four months to become a household name in New Jersey. This is where Christie could have an impact on the race — other than to put it in the least favorable terms for Republicans possible, which the scheduling already does.

Knowing CRISTie, he’ll wind up endorsing Booker anyway.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:25 PM

How did he actually perform as mayor?

All that is ever reported is his Twitter. Was he actually a good half-term mayor? Or just a guy who used Twitter?

All that is ever reported is him doing PR type stunts. Not improving his city… which looks to be 3rd world.

tetriskid on June 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Stunning news. Not.

totherightofthem on June 10, 2013 at 1:27 PM

This guy will win, then run for preezie in 2016. Obama needs a front guy.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Given the snap nature of this election, money will play a big role. Pallone has more money right now but the candidates all need to raise and spend a lot of money between now and the primary date. Shelia Oliver can really hurt Bookers bid; he really needs to make a deal with her to stay out of the race.

Lonergan would ordinarily get about 15-20% of the general election vote but, if he can raise a chunk of change and not be forced to spend it on a primary, he might do a little bit better than that in an election where the Democrat nominee is poor. Maybe.

MTF on June 10, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I’m not sure, the dude doesn’t seem clean or articulate enough and his accent, whew his accent…man, it doesn’t seem authentically negr0.

Regardless, the shiite-pile which is New Jersey will elect this blowhole because retards elect retards.

Bishop on June 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

This guy will win, then run for preezie in 2016. Obama needs a front guy.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 1:29 PM

He’d have to announce his bid in early-to-mid 2015. Especially if Hillary runs. No late entry will stand a chance against her. So he’d be running for President with 1 1/2 years experience in the Senate at most. Even Obama had more than that.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

How did he actually perform as mayor?

All that is ever reported is his Twitter. Was he actually a good half-term mayor? Or just a guy who used Twitter?

All that is ever reported is him doing PR type stunts. Not improving his city… which looks to be 3rd world.

tetriskid on June 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Newark is not 3rd world!!! Come on there are third world countries that have a higher standard of living and lower crime than Newark. Booker did nothing as mayor except the PR stunts, like carrying groceries, or some other nonsense.

But this is New Jersey, he will win by 30%+. It takes a special kind of democrat to lose in Jersey. Heck even the corruptocrat Menendez won in a landslide, and remains popular.

Corruption is built in to the democrat cake in Jersey.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

He’d have to announce his bid in early-to-mid 2015. Especially if Hillary runs. No late entry will stand a chance against her. So he’d be running for President with 1 1/2 years experience in the Senate at most. Even Obama had more than that.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Hillary I don’t think will run. Not because she doesn’t “want it” but because she doesn’t want to lose again. It’s all in “Chelsea’s hands” now.

But in 2016 expect the democratic party to nominate Omalley or Patrick, or Cuomo.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM

But in 2016 expect the democratic party to nominate Omalley or Patrick, or Cuomo.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM

If the Dems have to settle for one of those nominees, then the GOP would win in a walk.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Booker 2016!!!!

Why not?

PappyD61 on June 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Newark is not 3rd world!!! Come on there are third world countries that have a higher standard of living and lower crime than Newark. Booker did nothing as mayor except the PR stunts, like carrying groceries, or some other nonsense.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

It’s funny that the only decent part of Newark (the Ironbound) has been completely passed over by Booker and his publicity stunts.

steebo77 on June 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

But in 2016 expect the democratic party to nominate Omalley or Patrick, or Cuomo.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM

If the Dems have to settle for one of those nominees, then the GOP would win in a walk.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

the gop? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAHHHHHHAAAHAHAHAHA

PappyD61 on June 10, 2013 at 1:48 PM

If the Dems have to settle for one of those nominees, then the GOP would win in a walk.

Doughboy on June 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

“A ham sandwich could beat Obama.”

steebo77 on June 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Lonagan needs to
Nationalize this contest.
Reward Obama?

A vote for Booker
Is a vote for Obama,
A vote for scandal…

Do we reward Obama for the data mining, for the IRS abuses, for the Benghazi lies, for the press intimidation, and for the rampant corruption? If you want to reward the President for all of these things, then vote for Cory Booker. Your message will be sent loud and clear.

However, if the voters reject Booker, who should be a shoo-in in this race, it will be a strong indication that the voters take the Obama scandals very seriously, and do not want to leave the President a free hand in Congress.

The long slide to fascism begins to end here in New Jersey. This election is the voter’s first opportunity to rebuke the President over all of these scandals, and it is an opportunity we should not miss.

Haiku Guy on June 10, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Christie won’t help Lonegan gain traction/recognition because Lonegan is a true conservative.

IrishEi on June 10, 2013 at 1:56 PM

“A ham sandwich could beat Obama.”

steebo77 on June 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

A ham sandwich would have beat Obama. A generic R would have beat Obama. Romney was like the perfect character out of Democrat central casting for Obama’s “hate the rick” “corporations are evil” campaign.

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 10, 2013 at 1:58 PM

OT: Didn’t Elijah Cummings tell us that there’s no DC connection in the IRS scandal and that the matter should now be closed?

http://www.nationalreview.com/node/350621/print

BuckeyeSam on June 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Booker checks off all the Chris Matthews liberal boxes. Plus the white Union vote. He’ll win by plus 10. NJ isn’t the state to get a breakthrough.

Hummer53 on June 10, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Steve Lonegan is the former mayor of Bogota, NJ, a small blue-collar suburb of NYC in southern Bergen County, only about 20 miles from Newark.

If Lonegan can build a voter base among independent blue-collar voters in the close-in NYC suburbs, and add in the traditional Republican base in the affluent areas of Morris and Somerset counties, and rural areas of northwestern and southern New Jersey, he might have a chance against Booker.

Booker will probably win huge margins in Newark and the black areas of the Philly suburbs, but Lonegan might have a chance if he can do well in the blue-collar NYC suburbs.

Steve Z on June 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The democrat party is full of lemmings.

jawkneemusic on June 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I can’t wait to see Booker shoveling Obama’s driveway in a snowstorm.

crosspatch on June 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

If Christie doesn’t help the Republican, it proves the thesis that Northeast RINOs only care about themselves.

Iblis on June 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Mind numbed,zero information Dem zombies ,who overwhelmingly populate and dominate Jersey, are overwhelmingly voting for a Dem.
.
Yeah,that’s real great news for Republicans.
.
Ya can’t beat Hot Air for the “sheeeeesh” factor.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Here is a link to Republican Steve Lonegan’s campaign website for the New Jersey Senate race:

http://www.loneganforsenate.com/

If name recognition is a challenge for Steve Lonegan, then we can all help to change that by spreading the word about Steve Lonegan’s Senate campaign.

Let’s win this seat!

wren on June 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

The New Jersey Democrats Republicans who have lined up against Booker Christie believe that he’s a showhorse — someone who hasn’t devoted the necessary effort to his job as Newark mayor Governor, and instead has worked to build a national profile for himself, independent of his actual performance.

fify

bloviator on June 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

In lunatic-left Taxachusetts, the only “name” that has to appear on the ballot to win is: “Generic Black Guy.”

TeaPartyNation on June 10, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Two points:
One, it really didn’t matter when the special election is held — Booker is almost certain to win. Or, I should say, the Democrat is almost certain to win.

Two, Booker has not been part of the corrupt Democrat machine. He will be a much better senator than Lautenberg or Menendez or Corzine or Torricelli.

J Baustian on June 12, 2013 at 12:40 AM