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Poll Shows Democrat With Relatively Narrow Lead In New Jersey Senate Race

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Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., leads Republican challenger Bob Hugin in the New Jersey Senate race in a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll, although the advantage for the incumbent is relatively narrow given the Democratic tilt of the Garden State.

The poll showed Menendez with a 37 percent to 32 percent lead over Hugin among registered voters and a slightly wider 43 percent to 37 percent advantage among likely voters.

The gaps are just outside the margins of error, however, as last year's trial on federal corruption charges seems to be weighing on Menendez.

The relatively low level of support for Menendez comes as 29 percent of registered Democratic voters and 22 percent of likely Democratic voters remained undecided.

Sixty-one percent of registered independent voters and 42 percent of likely independent voters also remain on the fence.

"It's both a blessing and a curse that a good number of Democrats remain up for grabs," said poll director Krista Jenkins. "If Menendez is able to capture the support of undecided Democrats, plus some of the independents, he will be able to decisively pull ahead of Hugin by November."

"It will be harder for Hugin to do the same, given the smaller base of undecided Republicans in the state," she added. "But, as they say, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day."

The poll showed Menendez with negative favorability ratings among both registered and likely voters, while Hugin's favorability ratings are roughly split and many voters don't know enough about the pharmaceutical executive to have an opinion.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University survey of 746 registered New Jersey voters was conducted September 26th through 30th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Among the 508 respondents identified as likely voters, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

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