Poll: N.J. voters like Cory Booker more than Frank Lautenberg

Whether or not Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) runs for a sixth term, a new poll suggests that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has a good shot at his seat in 2014. 

A survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind gives Booker a 66 percent approval rating; Lautenberg clocks in at 45 percent. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 42 percent prefer Booker to Lautenberg in a head-to-head match-up. Only 20 percent prefer Lautenberg to Booker. Both are very well known; 83 percent of voters are familiar with Lautenberg, 75 percent with Booker. 

“These numbers suggest that some difficult days may lie ahead for the incumbent senator
should he seek reelection,” said poll director Krista Jenkins.

Booker announced in December that he was exploring a Senate bid, but the 88-year-old Lautenberg has given no hint that he plans to retire. The Newark mayor's decision to move ahead with his own campaign has upset some establishment Democrats, and Booker told CNN earlier this week that he has had trouble getting in touch with Lautenberg.

“I want to give him the space to make his own decision," he said. "I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is is we've got a good senator."

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | January 10, 2013