In the election for New Jersey's 12 th Congressional District, Rush Holt faces his toughest challenge in a decade. The Monmouth University Poll finds the incumbent Democrat leading Republican Scott Sipprelle by 51% to 46% among likely voters in this district.
New Jersey's 12 th District stretches across the geographical waist of the state. Holt leads by 63% to 33% in the western part of the district, which includes much of Mercer County and part of Hunterdon County. Sipprelle, on the other hand, holds a 58% to 38% advantage in the eastern, Monmouth County, portion of the district. However, in the central portion, comprised mainly of Middlesex County and part of one Somerset County town, it's a much closer race - 50% for Holt to 46% for Sipprelle.
"This is not unfamiliar territory for Holt, as his first two races were won by very narrow margins. However, redistricting in 2002 added more Democratic voters to the 12 th and gave Holt comfortable wins. This year, though, he has to contend with the national anti-Democrat, anti-incumbent wave," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
That fact that Democratic voters substantially outnumber Republican ones in this district is the only thing keeping the incumbent in the lead. While Rush Holt takes 90% of his fellow Democrats and Scott Sipprelle has 85% of the Republican vote, Sipprelle actually has a sizeable 54% to 39% advantage among independents.
Congressman Rush Holt's job performance rating among likely voters in his district stands at 48% approve to 42% disapprove. He garners personal ratings of 49% favorable to 35% unfavorable. By comparison, 36% of voters give Sipprelle a favorable rating and 23% an unfavorable one, with 41% offering no opinion of the Princeton businessman.
Most (63%) of New Jersey's 12 th District voters think the country is on the wrong track, and they tend to give President Barack Obama negative (51%) rather than positive (44%) job performance ratings. However, these voters are evenly divided on whether they want to see the Democrats (42%) or Republicans (42%) in control of Congress next year.
The Democratic Party is viewed favorably by 41% of voters in New Jersey's 12 th District and unfavorably by 52%. The Republican Party fares no better at an identical 41% favorable to 52% unfavorable. The Tea Party movement garners similar ratings - 38% favorable to 52% unfavorable.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by automated telephone interviewing with 630 likely voters from October 9 to 12, 2010. This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.9 percent.
The questions referred to in this release are as follows:
1. If the election for United States Congress from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District were today, would you vote for Scott Sipprelle, the Republican, Rush Holt, the Democrat, or some other candidate? [At this moment, do you lean toward Scott Sipprelle or lean toward Rush Holt?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
[QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 WERE ROTATED]
2. Is your general opinion of Scott Sipprelle favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Scott Sipprelle?
3. Is your general opinion of Rush Holt favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Rush Holt?
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Rush Holt is doing as your Congressman?
5. Are things in the United States going in the right direction or have they gotten off on the wrong track?
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?
7. Who would you rather see in control of Congress next year – the Democrats, the Republicans, or does it make no difference?
[QUESTIONS 8 AND 9 WERE ROTATED]
8. Is your general opinion of the Democratic party favorable or unfavorable?
9. Is your general opinion of the Republican party favorable or unfavorable?
10. Is your general opinion of the Tea Party movement favorable or unfavorable?
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey. The poll was conducted on October 9-12, 2010 with a random sample of 630 likely voters in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. The sample was drawn from a list of households with voters who cast ballots in at least two of the last four general elections and further screened for those who say they are either “certain” or “likely” to vote in this November’s election. The voter list was obtained from Aristotle, Inc. and automated voice interviewing services were provided by Survey USA in Clifton, New Jersey.
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 3.9 percentage points. Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample. 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