GOP incumbent Frank LoBiondo holds a substantial 21 point lead over Democrat Bill Hughes in the race for New Jersey's 2 nd district House seat, according to the Monmouth University Poll . LoBiondo is widely liked by his constituents and holds the advantage on key issues in the race.
Among voters likely to cast their ballot in next month's congressional race, 56% say they will support Frank LoBiondo and 35% will vote for Bill Hughes, Jr. Another 2% say they will vote for a third party candidate and 7% are undecided. Republican LoBiondo won re-election two years ago by an 18 point margin even though Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee at the top of the ticket, lost the district by 8 points.
LoBiondo has a significant lead among both men (64% to 30% for Hughes) and women (49% to 40%) as well as in both the coastal (54% to 36%) and inland counties (59% to 33%) of this southern shore district. Republicans support LoBiondo by a 91% to 5% margin while Democrats back Hughes by a smaller 76% to 16% margin. Independents support LoBiondo - 64% to just 25% for Hughes.
"LoBiondo has held his seat for two decades because of significant crossover appeal in a district that otherwise trends Democratic," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
LoBiondo first ran for Congress in 1992 against then-Rep. Bill Hughes, Sr., father of the current Democratic nominee. LoBiondo lost that race by 14 points but went on to win the seat handily two years later when the incumbent decided to retire from Congress.
"There is speculation that LoBiondo's may retire in a few years. Perhaps the younger Hughes hopes that lightning will strike again and he will have a clear shot in 2016. Of course, back in 1994, LoBiondo first had to get past a primary race against a veteran lawmaker. That may also be on the cards for the Democrat next time around," said Murray.
District voters who are familiar with the candidates tend to be more positive than negative, although few say they know enough about the challenger to form an opinion of him. Specifically, voter opinion of LoBiondo is 56% favorable and just 18% unfavorable with 27% registering no opinion. Voter opinion of Hughes is 28% favorable to 9% unfavorable with 62% having no opinion.
"To put it plainly, district voters, including many Democrats, simply like Frank LoBiondo," said Murray.
The Monmouth University Poll found that LoBiondo has an advantage on the overall perception of who is in touch with the district. When asked which candidate understands the concerns of district residents, 37% say only LoBiondo does, 18% say only Hughes does, and 20% say both do. Another 17% of likely voters say that neither candidate understands the district.
LoBiondo is also the preferred candidate on a wide range of issues. These include:
- helping veterans and the military - 42% say LoBiondo will do a better job, 20% say Hughes will do a better job, and 19% say both will perform about equally;
- protecting coastal resources - 41% prefer LoBiondo, 22% prefer Hughes, and 18% say both will perform about equally;
- helping seniors - 39% prefer LoBiondo, 25% prefer Hughes, and 19% say both will perform about equally;
- improving jobs and the local economy - 38% prefer LoBiondo, 25% prefer Hughes, and 15% say both will perform about equally; and
- doing the right thing on healthcare - 35% prefer LoBiondo, 26% prefer Hughes, and 14% say both will perform about equally.
The Monmouth University Poll also found that 2 nd district voters have a negative opinion of both Pres. Barack Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives. Obama receives an upside down 39% approve to 55% disapprove job rating while the House receives an even worse 17% approve to 70% disapprove rating for its performance. Voters in the 2 nd district are divided on whether they would like to see the Republicans (36%) or the Democrats (30%) control Congress. Another 32% say party control would make no difference to them.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from October 12 to 14, 2014 with 438 New Jersey voters likely to vote in New Jersey's 2 nd Congressional District November general election. This sample has a margin of error of ± 4.7 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The questions referred to in this release are as follows:
1. If the election for U.S. Congress in your district was today, would you vote for Frank LoBiondo, the Republican, Bill Hughes, the Democrat or some other candidate? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following at this moment, do you lean more toward Frank LoBiondo or more toward Bill Hughes?]
[QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 WERE ROTATED]
2. Is your general opinion of Frank LoBiondo favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
3. Is your general opinion of Bill Hughes favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. House of Representatives is doing?
6. Which candidate understands the concerns of people who live in your Congressional District – Frank LoBiondo, Bill Hughes, both of them, or neither of them?
7. Who would do a better job on the following issues – Frank LoBiondo or Bill Hughes, or would they perform about equally? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]
Improving jobs and the local economy
Protecting coastal resources
Doing the right thing on healthcare
Helping veterans and the military
8. Which party would you like to see control Congress – the Republicans or the Democrats, or would it make no difference?
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 12 to 14, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 438 likely voters in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District drawn from a list of registered voters who voted in at least two of the last four general elections and indicate they are likely to vote in the upcoming election. This includes 375 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 63 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, gender, and party registration based on state registration list information on the pool of voters who have participated in two of the last four elections. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and L2 (voter list). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points. 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.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.
Download this Poll Report with all tables