Nearly half of NJ02 voters are bothered by Van Drew being elected as a Democrat but now running for reelection as a Republican. This includes 35% who say it bothers them a lot and 12% a little, while 51% say it does not bother them. Nearly 9-in-10 Democrats (87%) and half of independents (46%) are bothered by the incumbent’s change of party affiliation, compared with 15% of Republicans who feel that way. Of note, 12% of Van Drew’s constituents say they were not aware of his party change.
District voters are split on what they think of Van Drew – 40% have a favorable opinion and 41% have an unfavorable view. Kennedy gets a 39% favorable and 31% unfavorable rating. A majority of NJ02 voters say the incumbent understands which issues are most important in South Jersey (34% great deal and 21% some), but a similar number say the same about the lesser-known challenger (24% great deal and 25% some). Another 32% say Van Drew does not understand South Jersey and 13% are unsure, while 28% say Kennedy does not understand South Jersey and 23% are unsure.