Newark Mayor Cory Booker holds a double-digit lead over Republican candidate Steve Lonegan on the eve of a special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey, according to the latest polls.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning indicates Booker, the Democratic nominee, is ahead of Lonegan 54 percent-40 percent among likely voters in the Garden State, with 5 percent unsure. Booker's 14-point lead over Lonegan is virtually unchanged from Quinnipiac's previous poll, which was released last week.
The Quinnipiac survey, which was conducted Thursday through Monday, is one of three polls released over the past 24 hours. Booker held a smaller 10 point 52 percent-42 percent advantage over Lonegan in a Monmouth University survey, and a much larger 22-point 58 percent-36 percent lead in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
Lonegan, former mayor of the northern New Jersey town of Bogota, has tried to paint the two-term Newark mayor as nothing but a celebrity, while Booker tries to characterize Lonegan as a far-right, tea party conservative. Saturday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a favorite among tea party activists, campaigned with Lonegan at a high profile event.
The winner of Wednesday's special election will serve out the final 14-and-a-half months remaining in the term of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year.
The Quinnipiac poll suggests a slight gender gap, with Booker leading by 22 points among women voters, but holding a much smaller five-point margin among men. Independent voters are divided between the two candidates.
"It's a New Jersey habit electing Democrats to the Senate. The liberal mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, holds onto the double-digit lead over the conservative former mayor of Bogota, Steve Lonegan, that we measured when we first looked at likely voters," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Booker's campaign released a video message Monday from President Barack Obama, who urged New Jersey voters to turn out for the Democratic candidate.
"Cory Booker has spent his entire life bringing people with different perspectives together, regardless of party, to take on tough challenges," said the President, in the video.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted October 10-14, with 1,696 likely voters in New Jersey questioned by telephone. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.