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Exclusive — New Jersey Poll: Republican Bob Hugin Ties Democrat Bob Menendez amid Corruption Concerns

Collage of Bob Hugin and Bob Menendez
Associated Press
Washington, D.C.

New Jersey’s senior Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez is seriously struggling in his re-election bid, as Republican Bob Hugin has pulled into a statistical tie with him this year, months ahead of the November election, a new survey conducted by Gravis Marketing and provided exclusively to Breitbart News shows.


Menendez, at 43 percent, only leads Hugin, at 41 percent, by two percentage points–inside the poll’s 4.1 percent margin of error. An unusually high 16 percent are undecided in the Senate race, meaning Hugin has a major opportunity to convince those voters to come his way should he be able to effectively get out his message. It also means Menendez has a lot of work to do between now and November to convince voters in New Jersey he is not corrupt, as they now overwhelmingly believe.

A majority of voters–56 percent in total, split 28 percent apiece–say Menendez’s corruption trial is either somewhat or heavily impacting their voting decision. Only 35 percent say Menendez’s corruption trial is not impacting their vote, and 9 percent are unsure.

Menendez was on trial for years, a trial that ended in a mistrial after a hung jury, but his co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen was convicted on separate but related charges in Florida several years ago. Menendez and Melgen were accused of an improper relationship, where Menendez would allegedly give political favors to Melgen in exchange for gifts, such as flights on Melgen’s private jet, campaign donations, and stays at Melgen’s luxurious resort in Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic.

The scandal has plagued Menendez for years, and Melgen’s conviction looms large over Menendez’s decision to run for re-election in New Jersey this year, even with Menendez’s mistrial in his own trial due to a deadlocked jury.

The Gravis Marketing poll of 563 likely voters in New Jersey was conducted from July 6 to July 10 and has the aforementioned 4.1 percent margin of error.

This Gravis Marketing survey is not the first to show a possible upset in the making for the GOP in New Jersey against Menendez. Farleigh Dickinson University has released survey data showing that Menendez is in trouble as well.

That survey spawned a round of media inquiries about Menendez’s viability in November’s general election, with the Philadelphia Inquirer asking if the GOP could “take out” Menendez. Meanwhile, Menendez’s poor performance in his primary against a no-name candidate sparked questions about whether the Democrat senator can sustain a campaign through November.

Slate, a left-wing magazine, for instance, in a piece with a headline calling Menendez a “headache” wrote this after Menendez’s shoddy primary election night against a nobody with no money:

National Democrats got their preferred candidates in each of New Jersey’s House primaries on Tuesday night, but the very same voters sent a strong rebuke to Sen. Bob Menendez, who barely mustered 60 percent of the vote running against an unknown challenger. The lackluster showing by Menendez, whose federal corruption trial ended in a mistrial last year, shocked Democrats and could create a new headache for the party as they try to win back control of the Senate.

Lisa McCormick, a first-time candidate with no money, no endorsements, and no campaign appearances, captured 38 percent of the primary vote against Menendez, a two-term senator who has raised more than $8 million and had the endorsement of every major Democrat in the state.

To put Menendez’s poor showing in perspective, he did only slightly worse in the general election in 2012, the last time he was on the ballot.

Win or lose, Menendez’s likely weak showing at the top of the ticket in New Jersey could seriously complicate matters for Democrats in other races in New Jersey, too, as Democrats are banking on pick-ups in at least a few GOP-held U.S. House seats in their quest to retake the majority for the first time since losing it in 2010 and reinstall current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. Without coattails from Menendez, these House seats in New Jersey could be battled back into GOP hands–and significantly aid the national GOP and President Donald Trump’s efforts to hold the House. Couple that with Pelosi’s significant unpopularity nationwide, and there could be serious issues for Democrats in New Jersey come November. Factor into this complication for Democrats the very real development that leftists inside their party want to impeach President Trump, and an unpopularity perfect storm is brewing for the left.

In fact, this Gravis Marketing survey shows 44 percent of all likely voters are less likely to vote for someone if they support Pelosi as speaker–whereas just 20 percent are more likely, and 36 percent are uncertain. Moreover, 41 percent of respondents said they are less likely to back a candidate who supports the impeachment of President Trump, while 40 percent said they are more likely, and 18 percent are uncertain.

New Jersey is still a deep blue state, even with working-class leanings, so some of the other issues in this poll indicate that the public is not necessarily aligned with President Trump or Republicans in this regard. For instance, 44 percent oppose his decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, whereas just 40 percent back it, and 16 percent are undecided, and conservatives are crushed on abortion and LGBTQ issues and the tax cuts bill.

Even so, a plurality side with President Trump on former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, with 46 percent saying the investigation is “politically motivated,” only 43 percent saying it is “justified,” and 11 percent uncertain.

A majority, 53 percent, believe President Trump should be allowed to nominate another justice to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, while just 39 percent say he should not be allowed to, and 8 percent are uncertain. Forty percent say voting for President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, who has now been announced as Brett Kavanaugh, makes them more likely to vote for someone for U.S. Senate, whereas 39 percent say it makes them less likely to back a Senate candidate, and 20 percent are uncertain.

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