October 7, 2002
A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME:Lautenberg inches ahead in Jersey Senate race; 54% say Democratic candidate swap was unfair (Quinnipiac University, October 7, 2002)
Former Sen. Frank Lautenberg leads Republican Douglas Forrester 49 - 45 percent among likely voters in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This tally includes likely voters who are leaning toward one of the candidates.
Democratic likely voters back Lautenberg 86 - 11 percent, while Republicans back Forrester 88 - 9 percent. Independent likely voters split 46 - 45 percent.
By a 54 - 40 percent margin, New Jersey likely voters say the Democratic party’s candidate substitution of Lautenberg for Sen. Robert Torricelli is “unfair.”
But only 30 percent of voters say they can’t vote for the new Democratic candidate because of last week’s switch.
"The new Democratic candidate has turned the New Jersey Senate race into a whole new ball game that will be decided by independent voters. New Jersey voters don't like the way Sen. Lautenberg got on the ballot, but they are glad to see tarnished Sen. Robert Torricelli gone. And one in five of those voters who say last minute candidate switch is unfair say they will vote for Lautenberg anyway,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Considering the tumult in the race last week that 6% undecided number seems absurdly low. But if Mr. Forrester is really hanging in this well against a popular former incumbent who is benefitting greatly from the same I'm-not-the-Torch effect that had elevated the GOP nominee initially, then this race is in play to a degree one would not have predicted. Mr. Lautenberg has to be favored because it's a Democrat state, but it's a winnable race if Mr. Forrester can quickly make age, taxes, and national security the issues. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2002 3:41 PM