February 21, 2013 - Donor Controversy Takes Toll On NJ Senator, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Booker Tops Rivera 2-1 In 2014 Senate Race

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New Jersey voters disapprove 41 - 36 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is doing, a 15-point drop in less than a month, and say 44 - 28 percent that he is not honest and trustworthy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Today's approval rating is down from a 51 - 33 percent score in a January 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and is his lowest score since August, 2011 when he had a negative 39 - 42 percent approval rating.

Democrats approve of Sen. Menendez 58 - 19 percent, while disapproval is 63 - 18 percent among Republicans and 45 - 31 percent among independent voters. Women approve 40 - 32 percent, while men disapprove 51 - 31 percent.

Seventy percent of New Jersey voters have read or heard something about the controversy involving Menendez and a political donor. Of that group:
  • 59 percent say it makes them feel less favorably about the senator while 35 percent say it doesn't affect their opinion;
  • 53 percent are not satisfied with how he is handling the issue, while 28 percent are satisfied;
  • 67 percent say the allegations are worth investigating, while 23 percent say they are politically motivated.
"U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez took an overseas trip and the poll numbers he left behind in New Jersey are dreadful - down 15 points in less than a month," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "So much for a reelection honeymoon.

"More than two thirds of voters have heard of his troubles and the more they know, the less they approve.

"Whenever a politician gets a new job, such as Sen. Menendez' position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the knives come out. But, by almost 3-1, voters think the Menendez charges are worth investigating. About one quarter think it's just politics," Carroll added.

2014 U.S. Senate Race

In an early look at New Jersey's 2014 U.S. Senate race, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Democrat, leads TV personality Geraldo Rivera, the Republican, 59 - 23 percent. Republicans back Rivera 54 - 23 percent, while Booker leads all other political, gender, income, age and regional groups in the state.

Booker leads 52 - 30 percent among men and 64 - 17 percent among women.

New Jersey voters give the Newark mayor a 59 - 11 percent favorability rating, including 47 - 24 percent among Republicans.

Rivera gets a negative 20 - 39 percent favorability. Republicans have a 34 - 25 percent favorable opinion, the only group with a positive opinion of Rivera.

"If TV personality Geraldo Rivera is just testing the water for a U.S. Senate run in New Jersey, he might find that the water is colder than the Atlantic Ocean in February," Carroll said.

"Meanwhile, Garden State voters give U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg a nice going-away gift, a 48 - 32 percent job approval rating."

President Barack Obama gets a 57 - 40 percent job approval.

From February 13 - 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,149 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information or RSS feed, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

2. If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Cory Booker the Democrat and Geraldo Rivera the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Booker               59%    23%    87%    57%    52%    64%    52%    77%
Rivera               23     54      4     21     30     17     27      9
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      3      1      1      2      1      2      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      3      -      2      3      1      2      1
DK/NA                15     16      9     19     13     17     16     12
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Booker               63%    55%    64%    62%    53%    56%    63%    60%
Rivera               22     23     19     22     26     21     21     27
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      -      2      2      2      2      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      1      2      1      3      1
DK/NA                11     18     16     12     16     20     12     10
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Booker               68%    61%    55%    59%    50%
Rivera               18     22     31     20     23
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      -      2      -      4
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      2      3      2      2
DK/NA                12     15      9     19     20
 
 
7. Is your opinion of Cory Booker favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            59%    47%    73%    57%    62%    57%    58%    67%
Unfavorable          11     24      3      8     14      9     13      4
Hvn't hrd enough     28     26     23     35     23     32     27     28
REFUSED               1      3      1      1      1      2      2      1
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Favorable            69%    53%    53%    66%    58%    51%    60%    69%
Unfavorable          11     11     10      9     13     10     14     11
Hvn't hrd enough     19     34     36     25     27     38     23     19
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      2      1      2      1
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            71%    61%    72%    43%    51%
Unfavorable          15     11     14      7      9
Hvn't hrd enough     14     25     14     50     38
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Cory Booker favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Feb 21  Jan 23  Nov 28  Sep 05
                     2013    2013    2012    2012
 
Favorable            59      54      52      49
Unfavorable          11      16      13      11
Hvn't hrd enough     28      29      33      38
REFUSED               1       2       1       1
 
 
8. Is your opinion of Frank Lautenberg favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            40%    23%    56%    39%    37%    43%    42%    39%
Unfavorable          29     53      7     32     36     23     37      3
Hvn't hrd enough     28     21     34     26     24     31     19     56
REFUSED               3      3      2      3      2      3      2      2
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Favorable            49%    34%    21%    46%    44%    34%    43%    47%
Unfavorable          32     27     13     27     38     22     33     34
Hvn't hrd enough     17     35     64     25     13     39     23     18
REFUSED               2      3      1      2      4      5      2      2
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            39%    42%    41%    38%    38%
Unfavorable          18     27     38     27     35
Hvn't hrd enough     41     27     19     33     23
REFUSED               1      4      1      2      4
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Frank Lautenberg favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Feb 21  Jan 23  Jun 11
                     2013    2013    2008
 
Favorable            40      42      40
Unfavorable          29      32      31
Hvn't hrd enough     28      23      26
REFUSED               3       3       4
 
 
9. Is your opinion of Geraldo Rivera favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            20%    34%    14%    17%    21%    19%    23%    15%
Unfavorable          39     25     46     39     41     36     38     38
Hvn't hrd enough     40     39     39     43     36     43     38     47
REFUSED               2      2      1      1      2      1      2      -
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Favorable            19%    21%    12%    20%    24%    24%    18%    20%
Unfavorable          44     35     30     43     38     33     43     41
Hvn't hrd enough     35     43     55     36     36     42     36     38
REFUSED               2      2      2      1      2      1      3      1
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            18%    21%    22%    18%    20%
Unfavorable          39     39     42     34     39
Hvn't hrd enough     41     38     35     46     41
REFUSED               2      2      1      2      -
 
 
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              36%    18%    58%    31%    31%    40%    30%    47%
Disapprove           41     63     19     45     51     32     50     15
DK/NA                23     19     23     24     18     28     21     38
 
                     HEARD OR READ ABOUT CONTROVERSY Q21...
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              33%    11%    62%    27%    26%    39%
Disapprove           51     75     23     55     63     40
DK/NA                16     14     15     18     11     21
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 21  Jan 23  Nov 28  Jul 18  May 16  Nov 28  Feb 20
                     2013    2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2008
 
Approve              36      51      56      46      44      56      30
Disapprove           41      33      29      32      30      29      31
DK/NA                23      15      14      22      26      14      39
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              48%    31%    67%    45%    44%    52%    45%    54%
Disapprove           32     54     12     36     42     25     39     14
DK/NA                19     15     21     19     14     24     15     32
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Approve              52%    46%    47%    52%    47%    49%    46%    52%
Disapprove           34     31     24     29     39     24     38     36
DK/NA                14     23     29     19     14     27     16     12
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              55%    49%    46%    53%    40%
Disapprove           22     33     41     27     37
DK/NA                23     19     12     20     24
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator? (*High also 55% Sep 1999 & Jul 1999)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 21  Jan 23  Nov 28  Sep 05  Jul 18  Jul 27  Feb 20
                     2013    2013    2012    2012    2012    2000*   2008
 
Approve              48      50      49      44      44      55      39
Disapprove           32      34      33      36      36      22      31
DK/NA                19      16      19      20      20      23      29
 
 
15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              57%    11%    93%    55%    46%    66%    46%    95%
Disapprove           40     87      6     38     51     31     49      4
DK/NA                 3      1      1      7      3      4      4      1
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    <50K   50-100 >100K
 
Approve              58%    55%    66%    58%    51%    60%    61%    51%
Disapprove           40     40     31     39     44     33     38     48
DK/NA                 2      5      3      2      5      7      2      1
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              72%    60%    40%    65%    46%
Disapprove           26     38     56     33     46
DK/NA                 2      2      3      2      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 21  Jan 23  Nov 27  Jul 18  May 16  Jun 10  Oct 13
                     2013    2013    2012    2012    2012    2009    2011
 
Approve              57      58      59      51      53      68      43
Disapprove           40      39      38      45      43      25      52
DK/NA                 3       3       3       4       4       7       5
 
 
20. Would you say that Robert Menendez is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  28%    13%    44%    22%    26%    29%    23%    40%
No                   44     68     26     46     52     38     53     15 
DK/NA                28     19     31     31     22     33     24     45 
 
                     HEARD OR READ ABOUT CONTROVERSY Q21...
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  24%     7%    45%    19%    21%    26%
No                   56     79     33     57     63     49
DK/NA                21     14     23     23     16     25
 
TREND: Would you say that Robert Menendez is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Feb 21  Sep 20  Jun 15
                     2013    2006    2006
 
Yes                  28      33      38
No                   44      24      21
DK/NA                28      43      41
 
 
21. Have you heard or read anything about the controversy surrounding Senator Menendez and his ties to a political donor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  70%    76%    66%    72%    72%    68%    77%    51%
No                   28     23     31     26     25     30     22     48 
DK/NA                 2      1      3      2      3      2      1      - 
 
 
22. Does this controversy make you think less favorably of Senator Menendez or doesn't it make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Less favorably       48%    65%    35%    47%    52%    44%    58%    22%
No difference        40     24     54     38     38     42     31     63 
DK/NA                12     11     11     15     10     14     11     15 
 
                     HEARD OR READ ABOUT CONTROVERSY Q21...
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Less favorably       59%    76%    45%    59%    61%    58%
No difference        35     21     48     35     35     35
DK/NA                 6      3      8      6      4      8
 
 
23. Are you satisfied or not satisfied with the way Senator Menendez is handling this matter?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Satisfied            28%    16%    41%    23%    24%    30%    22%    36%
Not satisfied        42     62     25     44     48     37     49     23 
DK/NA                30     21     34     32     27     33     29     42 
 
                     HEARD OR READ ABOUT CONTROVERSY Q21...
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Satisfied            28%    15%    47%    22%    24%    32%
Not satisfied        53     73     31     57     60     46
DK/NA                19     12     22     21     16     22
 
 
24. Do you think the controversy surrounding Senator Menendez and his ties to a political donor is worth investigating or do you think it is politically motivated?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Worth investigating  60%    76%    45%    64%    62%    58%    63%    46%
Politically motivatd 23     11     39     17     22     24     21     37 
BOTH (VOL)            4      3      4      6      5      4      5      2 
DK/NA                12     10     11     13     12     13     11     15 
 
                     HEARD OR READ ABOUT CONTROVERSY Q21...
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Worth investigating  67%    83%    49%    71%    69%    65%
Politically motivatd 23     12     40     17     21     24
BOTH (VOL)            6      3      6      8      6      6
DK/NA                 4      3      5      4      3      5
 

Demographic Summary