N.J. poll: Dems hold edge for president, Senate, House

Former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker are leading the way among New Jersey voters in their respective races for president and U.S. Senate, according to a Monmouth University poll.

If the election were today, Biden had a 16-point advantage over President Donald Trump among New Jersey residents (54% to 38%). Among Democrats, Biden took the lead with a 93% to 3% margin versus Republicans supporting Trump by a 92% to 6% margin. Independents sway toward Biden 51% to 36%.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Booker the Democrat is in the lead over his Republican challengers, holding more than 20 points over either of the top two. The incumbent has a 58% to 33% lead against Hirsh Singh and a 55% to 32% lead over Rik Mehta.

“The magnitude of the Democratic lead is not unusual when we don’t even have a Republican nominee yet. The race could tighten once voters start paying attention, but that won’t happen until the fall. Still, the fact that a clear majority support Booker’s reelection regardless of the opponent is good news for the incumbent,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

Looking along partisan lines, the race for New Jersey’s 12 U.S. House of Representatives seats is mixed, but Democrats are pulling in higher support. Overall, half of all state voters (50%) say they will back the Democratic candidate in their district compared to the more than one-third (38%) that will support the Republican.

“Democratic incumbents in New Jersey’s ‘blue wave’ districts face a tough challenge heading into November. The terrain does not look quite as friendly as it did two years ago even with a strong performance by their party at the top of the ticket this year,” Murray said.

On November’s ballot, New Jersey voters will be asked to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. More than half (61%) say they support the measure while 34% do not and 5% have no opinion. Support comes from Democrats (74%), independents (64%) and Republicans (40%).

Voter opinion for marijuana is trending upward, with 64% saying that in general they support legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use (32% opposed). Support has grown since 2014 (48% support, 47% oppose).

“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” said Murray.

Six in ten New Jersey voters (62%) think marijuana legalization will help the state’s economy, 10% say it will hurt it and 21% think it will have no impact.

Looking at any negative consequences, 27% think legalizing marijuana would increase other drug crimes. About the same (22%) said it will decrease crimes, but nearly half (46%) think it will have no impact on crimes either way.

The poll was conducted by phone from April 16 to 19, 2020 with 704 adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.