The election for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District is tight, according to the Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll. More voters approve than disapprove of the job freshman Congressman John Adler is doing, but enough voters are looking for change in Washington that challenger Jon Runyan is within striking distance.
With five weeks to go before Election Day, the poll of likely voters found the incumbent with a narrow lead within the poll’s margin of error – 42% for Democrat Adler to 39% for Republican Runyan, with 13% undecided. Adler leads by 48% to 35% in the Burlington and Camden Counties portion of the district, while Runyan has a 44% to 34% advantage among Ocean County voters.
Another 4% of likely voters in New Jersey’s 3rd District indicate that they will vote for self-styled “NJ Tea Party” candidate Pete DeStefano and 2% say they will vote for one of the other candidates on the ballot.
Despite the closeness of the race, Adler actually earns positive job performance ratings from likely voters in his district – 49% approve to 34% disapprove. But voters are split on whether they want a candidate who can bring about needed change (42%) or a candidate who has the experience to get things done (41%). When asked which party they would like to see in control of Congress next year, though, 42% pick the Republicans compared to 33% who would stick with the Democrats. Another 21% say it wouldn’t make a difference which party controls Congress.
Only 42% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party in general compared to 50% who have an unfavorable view. The Republican Party fares slightly better – 45% favorable to 45% unfavorable.