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Generic GOPer Is Close to Lautenberg in Poll

Not that it will matter on Election Day next year, but a statewide poll shows potential trouble on the horizon for Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D) presumed 2008 re-election bid.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll showed Lautenberg narrowly in front of an un-named Republican challenger, 39 percent to 36 percent, as 54 percent of voters said the 83- year-old incumbent is too old to “effectively” serve another term.

According to the survey, 42 percent of voters approved of Lautenberg’s job performance, with 34 percent disapproving. The poll of 1,230 New Jersey voters was conducted Sept. 18-23, and had a margin of error of 2.8 points.

Statewide polls of New Jersey voters often show soft support for Democratic incumbents, giving Republicans what turns out on Election Day to be false hope that victory might be attainable.

Two Republicans, real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrook and state Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio, are considering running against Lautenberg next year. Lautenberg has yet to formally announce his candidacy but has said repeatedly that he intends to seek another term in 2008.

Most New Jersey voters believe government corruption is a serious problem, and they blame Democrats for the corruption more than Republicans. But those same voters still prefer Democrats over Republicans in state and federal office by healthy margins, the Quinnipiac poll found.

Even U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie (R), who receives high marks in the survey for his efforts to stamp out government corruption in New Jersey, is not a preferred candidate for governor or Senator. The poll showed that voters by a 30 percent to 24 percent margin, with 46 percent undecided, would prefer Christie not run for Senate in 2008.

This survey was taken on the heels of 10 local Democratic officials being indicted on corruption charges.

— David M. Drucker

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