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Last Updated: 7/23/2024, 4:02 PM

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Image of candidates running for New Jersey's U.S. Senate seat in 2024.

Murphy is Most Recognized Name in Senate Field; Kim has Higher Favorables

New Jersey

Republicans in U.S. Senate race largely unknown to GOP voters

West Long Branch, NJ – First Lady Tammy Murphy is the most recognized name in a field of eight Democratic and Republican candidates vying for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat up for election this year. However, the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds Congressman Andy Kim has somewhat higher favorable ratings with the electorate as a whole as well as among his fellow Democrats.

About 8 in 10 New Jersey voters have heard of Murphy and just under 2 in 3 have heard of Kim. Kim receives a net positive 28% favorable and 10% unfavorable and Murphy gets a net negative 14% favorable and 26% unfavorable rating. Even though Murphy has greater name recognition, more voters say they have not formed an opinion of her than say the same of Kim. This pattern holds among their fellow partisans as well. Among Democratic voters, Kim gets a 48% favorable and 2% unfavorable rating, with 24% offering no opinion and 26% saying they have not heard of him. Murphy gets a 24% favorable and 13% unfavorable rating from her fellow Democrats, with a sizable 50% who say they have no opinion of her and 13% who have not heard of her.

There are few significant regional differences in voter opinion of Murphy, but Kim is definitely better known and more highly rated among South Jersey Democrats than he is elsewhere in the state. Still, he does well with North Jersey Democrats, earning an overall 37% favorable and 2% unfavorable rating from this group compared with a 22% favorable and 12% unfavorable rating for Murphy – despite his lower name recognition there (64% for Kim, compared with 83% for Murphy).

Murphy could become the first woman to hold a New Jersey U.S. Senate seat, but Kim currently has higher ratings among Democratic women – 42% favorable and 2% unfavorable compared with 26% favorable and 9% unfavorable for Murphy. Among Democratic men, Kim’s favorable–unfavorable ratings are 57%–1% while Murphy’s ratings are 21%–20%. It is important to emphasize that even among various groups of Democratic voters, a key difference between these two candidates is the large number of voters who know Murphy by name but have not formed an opinion of her.

“Kim has more of a public record than Murphy and it shows in this early read of voter sentiment, but what this poll really tells us is that the senate race is still an insider’s game at this point. The contenders are currently focused on appealing to a small group of party leaders and committee members as they try to shore up county lines. So, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of actual voters know almost nothing about the field. It will be interesting to see what happens to these opinion gaps after the official filing deadline later this month,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. Readers should note that these poll findings reflect overall general impressions of the announced candidates; they do not necessarily indicate primary election vote intent.

Other candidates running for U.S. Senate currently have very low name recognition among their fellow partisans. This includes labor leader and educator Patricia Campos-Medina (27%) and community organizer Larry Hamm (15%), who are known to less than 3 in 10 Democratic voters. This pattern is similar for four Republicans who have announced their candidacies. The best known of these is business consultant and Mendham mayor Christine Serrano Glassner (24% of Republican voters have heard of her), while only about 1 in 8 recognize former TV reporter Alex Zdan (13%), hotel owner and developer Curtis Bashaw (12%), and former Tabernacle deputy mayor Justin Murphy (11%).

The Monmouth University Poll asked voters their likelihood of supporting four different candidates in the general election if they became their respective party’s nominee. Kim is nominally in the best starting point at this early stage, with 24% of registered voters saying they would definitely vote for him in November and 36% who would possibly vote for him, while 33% say they would definitely not vote for him. Murphy has 18% definite and 33% possible support right now, which is just slightly better than the two Republicans tested in the poll – Serrano Glassner (9% definite and 38% possible) and Bashaw (10% definite and 35% possible). The number of voters who have currently ruled out supporting these candidates is similar for Murphy (42%), Serrano Glassner (42%), and Bashaw (44%). There is a bigger difference in intention among independent voters, though. Currently, a larger number of independents say they will not vote for Murphy (51%) than say the same about Kim (33%), Serrano Glassner (30%), or Bashaw (30%).

“Partisanship will play a major role in November. Even with the softness in these early numbers, there are likely to be very few defections among Democrats whether Kim or Murphy is the nominee. And Republicans are just as likely to vote for whomever becomes their party’s candidate even though very few currently have any idea who is running,” said Murray. He added, “Independents could be the deciding factor if the race is close. This is an area where Murphy is starting off at a relative disadvantage. Kim may have slightly more support than other candidates at this point, but little of it is locked in. What looks like positive opinion today could evaporate while negatives can be turned around once voters actually start paying attention in the fall.”

Just under 1 in 4 New Jersey voters (23%) say that party control of the U.S. Senate will be the most important factor in determining their support in November. Interestingly, this number is fairly similar among Democrats (27%) and Republicans (24%) as well as independents (19%). Another 58% of registered voters say that party control of the senate will be one of several important factors in their choice while just 16% say it will not be an important factor.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from February 29 to March 4, 2024 with 801 New Jersey adults. The question results in this release are based on 757 registered voters and have a margin of error +/- 4.3 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-9 held for future release.]

[QUESTIONS 10 & 11 WERE ROTATED]

10.I’m going to read you the names of some Democratic candidates who are running for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination this year. For each, please tell me if you have heard of them or not. [If HEARD OF:] Is your general impression of [READ NAME] favorable or unfavorable, or don’t you really have an opinion?  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Response:
Favorable

Unfavorable
No
opinion
Not
heard of

(n)
Congressman Andy Kim28%10%26%36%(757)
First Lady Tammy Murphy14%26%40%21%(757)
Labor leader and educator Patricia Campos-Medina5%3%17%75%(757)
Community organizer
Larry Hamm
3%2%7%87%(757)

11.I’m going to read you the names of some Republican candidates who are running for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination this year. For each, please tell me if you have heard of them or not. [If HEARD OF:] Is your general impression of [READ NAME] favorable or unfavorable, or don’t you really have an opinion?  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Response:
Favorable

Unfavorable

No opinion
Not
heard of

(n)
Business consultant and Mendham mayor Christine Serrano Glassner3%2%14%80%(757)
Hotel owner and developer
Curtis Bashaw
3%2%6%89%(757)
Former TV reporter Alex Zdan2%2%10%86%(757)
Former Tabernacle deputy mayor Justin Murphy2%3%9%87%(757)

12.If [READ NAME] is the [Democratic/Republican] nominee for Senate, will you definitely vote for [him/her], possibly vote for [him/her], or definitely not vote for [him/her] in November? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Response:Definitely
vote for
Possibly
vote for
Definitely not
vote for
(VOL)
Don’t know

(n)
Andy Kim (D)24%36%33%8%(757)
Tammy Murphy (D)18%33%42%7%(757)
Christine Serrano Glassner (R)9%38%42%11%(757)
Curtis Bashaw (R)10%35%44%12%(757)

13.In thinking about how you will vote in November, is which party controls the U.S. Senate the most important factor in your vote, one of several important factors, or not an important factor?

Response:March
2024
Most important factor23%
One of several factors58%
Not an important factor16%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
(n)(757)

[Q14-42 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 29 to March 4, 2024 with a probability-based random sample of 801 New Jersey adults age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English, and included 259 live landline telephone interviews, 375 live cell phone interviews, and 167 online surveys via a cell phone text invitation. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n= 657) and Aristotle (list, n= 144). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2021 one-year survey). The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 757 registered voters. For results based on the sample of registered voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points adjusted for sample design effects (1.49). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

NJ Regions (by county)

North – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren

Central – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset

South – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem

Demographics (weighted)

Party (self-reported): 26% Republican,36% Independent, 37% Democrat

Sex:  48% male, 51% female, 1% other

Age: 27% 18-34, 32% 35-54, 41% 55+

Race: 56% White, 13% Black, 19% Hispanic, 13% Asian/other

Education: 33% high school or less, 24% some college, 24% 4 year degree, 19% graduate degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.