A new poll shows Republican Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt has made up some ground in the race for a 1st District state Senate seat.
But with just three weeks to go before the Nov. 5 election incumbent Democrat Jeff Van Drew still has a commanding lead.
Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, would garner 58 percent of the vote if the election were held today, according to the poll released Tuesday by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Richard Stockton College. A poll Stockton did in late September gave Van Drew 62 percent of the vote.
While Van Drew appears to be losing a few votes, Adelizzi-Schmidt is not exactly gaining them. She received 29 percent of the votes in the September poll and is still at 29 percent. The rest of the voters are not sure or favor another candidate.
Van Drew has seen his lead shrink before and still won the election.
“In the 2011 race for state Senate, Van Drew had a large lead in the first poll, a reduced lead in the second poll, but managed a 54 to 46 percent margin of victory on Election Day,” said Daniel J. Douglas, who directs the center.
The latest poll shows virtually no change in the Assembly race as incumbent Democrats Nelson Albano and Robert Andrzejczak still lead Republican challengers Sam Fiocchi and Kristine Gabor. Albano’s poll votes increased from 24 percent to 25 percent while Andrzejczak went from 21 to 22 percent. Fiocchi increased from 17 to 18 percent while Gabor remained at 17 percent.
The phone poll was conducted on Oct. 11-13 with 613 likely voters in the district that includes all of Cape May County, most of Cumberland County and a small section of Atlantic County. The poll has a 3.95 percent margin of error.
The poll is also showing a lack of familiarity with Adelezzi-Schmidt, who has never run for political office before, with 63 percent not knowing who she is. Only 12 percent do not know Van Drew, who has been a Dennis Township mayor, Cape May County freeholder, state assemblyman and a senator.
The poll shows Republican Gov. Chris Christie leading Democratic challenger Senator Barbara Buono by 66 percent to 27 percent. This is not translating to higher numbers for Adelizzi-Schmidt, Fiocchi or Gabor, as 65 percent say a Christie endorsement would not change their vote. Van Drew would get votes from 30 percent of Republican voters while Adelizzi-Schmidt would only receive 4 percent of the votes from Democrats.
The poll delved into some other issues. Here are those highlights:
The blame for the partial federal government shutdown was 35 percent for Republicans in Congress, 21 percent for President Barack Obama, and 4 percent for Democrats in Congress.
— 60 percent believe New Jersey is headed in the right direction and 28 disagree.
— 73 percent say property taxes have increased in the past three years.
— 76 percent support raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour with annual cost of living increases.
— 71 percent support allowing veteran groups to use money raised in raffles and games of chance to support their operations.
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