January 25, 2006 - Independent Voters Hold Key To NJ Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Approval Of Bush, War In Iraq Is Low
New Jersey voters are still getting to know their new U.S. Senator, Robert Menendez, and his potential Republican challenger, State Sen. Tom Kean, Jr., and are evenly divided in an early look at the November election for a full six-year Senate term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Menendez gets 38 percent to 36 percent for Kean, with 22 percent undecided, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Democrats back Menendez 70 - 8 percent, while Republicans go with Kean 76 - 7 percent. Menendez gets 34 percent of independent voters, to 32 percent for Kean.

When asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Menendez or Kean, 64 percent of New Jersey voters say they haven't heard enough about either the Democrat or the Republican to form an opinion.

"New Jersey voters are not about to rush to judgment on who to elect for Senator for the next six years," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Newly appointed Sen. Robert Menendez leads Tom Kean by the narrowest of margins only because there are more Democrats than Republicans in New Jersey. The independent voters who have an opinion are split down the middle and most voters just say they don't know enough about the candidates to have an opinion this early in the race."

Menendez should be the Democratic nominee to run for a full six-year term, 50 percent of Democrats say, while 23 percent want someone else, with 27 percent undecided.

Among Republicans, 51 percent want to nominate Kean to challenge Menendez, with 18 percent who want someone else and 31 percent undecided.

President Bush Approval

New Jersey voters disapprove 59 - 36 percent of the job President George W. Bush is doing, his lowest score in the state. Voters also disapprove 62 - 34 percent of the way President Bush is handling the war in Iraq.

Voters say 58 - 38 percent that going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do.

From January 18 - 23, Quinnipiac University surveyed 961 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The survey includes 282 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percentage points and 274 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 5.9 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida and nationally as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks or call (203) 582-5201.

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 44% 34% 60% 39% 44% 45% Disapprove 34 46 17 40 42 26 DK/NA 22 20 23 21 15 28

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 52% 49% 42% 36% 41% Disapprove 31 31 39 34 36 DK/NA 17 20 19 30 23

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator? * - also hit 55% on 9/23/1999 & 7/22/1999

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Jan 25  Jun 15  Apr 28  Mar 17  Jan 26  Jul 27  Jun 18
                        2006    2005    2005    2005    2005    2000 *  2003


Approve 44 49 48 52 53 55 41 Disapprove 34 34 29 27 28 22 34 DK/NA 22 18 22 21 20 23 25



4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 36% 72% 9% 33% 38% 34% Disapprove 59 23 87 61 59 59 DK/NA 5 5 4 6 3 7

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 30% 31% 49% 29% 46% Disapprove 62 63 47 66 51 DK/NA 8 6 4 5 3

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Jan 25  Jun 15  Apr 28  Mar 17  Jan 27  Oct 18  Jan 25
                        2006    2005    2005    2005    2005    2001    2006


Approve 36 40 45 44 43 90 36 Disapprove 59 55 51 53 53 7 59 DK/NA 5 5 4 4 4 3 5



5. Is your opinion of United States Senator Robert Menendez favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 16% 12% 22% 15% 16% 17% Unfavorable 7 14 3 6 9 5 Mixed 12 8 12 16 12 12 Hvn't hrd enough 64 66 63 61 62 65 REFUSED 1 - 1 2 1 2

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Favorable 24% 21% 13% 6% 14% Unfavorable 8 6 11 6 5 Mixed 14 12 9 12 13 Hvn't hrd enough 53 60 65 74 66 REFUSED - 1 2 3 2



6. Is your opinion of State Senator Tom Kean Jr. favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 17% 27% 9% 16% 14% 19% Unfavorable 5 2 7 4 6 3 Mixed 15 10 18 16 15 14 Hvn't hrd enough 64 61 66 63 64 64 REFUSED 1 - 1 1 1 1

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Favorable 11% 19% 23% 11% 18% Unfavorable 4 4 4 7 4 Mixed 19 14 15 10 15 Hvn't hrd enough 66 62 56 71 63 REFUSED 1 - 1 1 1

TREND: Is your opinion of State Senator Tom Kean Jr. favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Jan 25  Dec 15
                        2006    2005


Favorable 17 20 Unfavorable 5 8 Mixed 15 9 Hvn't hrd enough 64 61 REFUSED 1 2



7. If the 2006 election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Robert Menendez the Democrat and Tom Kean Jr. the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Menendez 38% 7% 70% 34% 38% 38% Kean Jr. 36 76 8 32 36 35 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 2 2 1 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 - 1 4 3 1 DK/NA 22 17 19 28 21 24

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Menendez 55% 36% 29% 41% 31% Kean Jr. 27 35 50 32 38 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 2 1 1 2 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 3 - 3 5 1 DK/NA 15 26 17 21 28

TREND: If the 2006 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Robert Menendez the Democrat and Tom Kean Jr. the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Jan 25  Dec 15  Nov 22
                        2006    2005    2005


Menendez 38 44 41 Kean, Jr 36 38 39 SMONE ELSE 1 - 1 WLDN'T VOTE 2 2 1 DK/NA 22 16 18



8. Would you like to see the Democrats nominate Robert Menendez for United States Senator or would you rather see the Democrats nominate someone else?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Menendez 33% 20% 50% 30% 34% 32% No/Someone else 28 31 23 29 31 25 DK/NA 39 48 27 41 35 43

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes/Menendez 48% 33% 29% 25% 34% No/Someone else 28 32 28 26 21 DK/NA 24 36 42 49 45



9. Would you like to see the Republicans nominate Tom Kean Jr. for United States Senator or would you rather see the Republicans nominate someone else?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Kean 35% 51% 20% 36% 35% 34% No/Someone else 30 18 39 31 32 28 DK/NA 36 31 41 33 34 38

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes/Kean 31% 37% 47% 24% 35% No/Someone else 39 30 22 30 27 DK/NA 30 33 31 47 38

9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 34% 65% 10% 32% 39% 29% Disapprove 62 31 88 64 58 66 DK/NA 4 4 2 5 3 5

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 27% 28% 48% 29% 44% Disapprove 69 66 50 67 53 DK/NA 3 6 2 3 3



20. Do you think going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the United States to do or the wrong thing?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Right thing 38% 72% 10% 37% 43% 33% Wrong thing 58 25 87 58 54 62 DK/NA 4 3 4 4 3 5

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Right thing 26% 34% 51% 34% 48% Wrong thing 73 61 46 62 47 DK/NA 1 5 3 4 4

TREND: Do you think going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the United States to do or the wrong thing?

                        Jan 25  Oct 19  Oct 6   Sep 21  Aug 5   Jun 23
                        2006    2004    2004    2004    2004    2004


Right thing 38 44 40 40 40 41 Wrong thing 58 51 52 55 54 54 DK/NA 4 5 7 5 6 5