U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan is well-liked by his constituents, who give him a 10-point lead over his opponent Shelly Adler in a poll released Thursday by The Stockton Polling Institute.

Runyan, a Republican and former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman, is running for re-election after his first term representing the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of northern Burlington and central Ocean counties. Adler, a Democrat, is the widow of John Adler, whom Runyan defeated in 2010.

The poll found that almost 47 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Runyan if the election were today, compared with almost 37 percent who would vote for Adler.

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The district is considered one of the most evenly contested and closely watched in the nation, targeted by both national Democrats and Republicans. Locally, it includes the townships of Lacey, Ocean, Barnegat and parts of Stafford.

More than 51 percent of the people polled had a favorable or very favorable opinion of Runyan, and 43 percent rated his work in the nation’s capitol as either good or very good.

The poll also found that with little more than a month to go, Adler was unknown by a significant portion of the electorate.

Nearly 40 percent thought well of Adler, but nearly a third were unaware or didn’t have an opinion of her. Fewer than 2 percent of those polled were unaware or had no opinion of Runyan.

The high marks for the sitting congressman come as the poll also found that barely more than 10 percent of the district thought Congress was doing an excellent or good job. About 48 percent thought it was doing poorly.

The poll also found that 3rd District voters were inclined to split their tickets.

It found that the district backs Democratic President Barack Obama 46 percent to 39 percent over Republican Mitt Romney. A somewhat more Democratically aligned district also supported Obama in 2008 by a 52-47 margin.

Third district voters also supported incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, 44 percent to 36 percent over his Republican challenger Joseph Kyrillos,a Monmouth County state senator.

Like Adler, Kyrillos has had problems attracting attention. While 34 percent thought favorably of him, another 41 percent had either no idea or no opinion of him.

District voters also like Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, who has family in Lacey Township and for whom Ocean County voters provided crucial support in the 2009 election. Almost 57 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of him.

But they’re split on his job performance: Slightly more than 50 percent thought he was doing a good or excellent job, while 48 percent rated it as fair or poor.

The poll of 614 likely voters was conducted by The Stockton Polling Institute at The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2 and had a 4 percentage point margin of error. The institute plans additional polls this election season on this and the 2nd Congressional District, as well as on state-wide issues.

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