New Jersey voters say Lautenberg doesn’t deserve re-election, poll finds

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

New Jersey voters are not enthused about a sixth Senate campaign from longtime Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a new poll finds. One reason: They're concerned about his age.

Just 21 percent of registered voters surveyed Jan. 15-21 by Quinnipiac University's polling institute said Lautenberg's age—he turns 89 on Wednesday—"helps him have the experience and wisdom to do a good job as a U.S. senator," but 71 percent said his age makes serving as senator "too difficult."

Lautenberg also received a 50 percent approval rating and 34 percent disapproval rating. By a ratio of 45 to 36 percent, voters said that he does not deserve to win re-election in 2014.

Lautenberg has not announced plans to retire, but due to his age, speculation remains about his political future.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker led Lautenberg by 21 points—51 to 30 percent—in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup in the Quinnipiac survey.

In some ways, Quinnipiac's results are typical. New Jersey voters have a long history of saying their elected officials don't deserve re-election—something Sen. Bob Menendez, Lautenberg and other lawmakers have experienced in past surveys.

That makes current Republican Gov. Chris Christie even more of an anomaly.

Christie garnered a 74 percent approval and 21 percent disapproval rating from voters surveyed by Quinnipiac—his highest job score ever from the institute. By a ratio of 68 to 24 percent, voters said Christie deserves to win re-election.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.