Booker still has huge lead in Senate race

Newark Mayor Cory Booker. (Paul Sakuma/AP)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

A new Quinnipiac Poll is a reminder that Newark Mayor Cory Booker doesn't have much to worry about.

The poll of registered voters finds him at over 50 percent in both New Jersey's Democratic primary for Senate and the general election.

Booker leads the Democratic pack at 52 percent, with 10 percent for Rep. Frank Pallone, 8 percent for Rep. Rush Holt and 3 percent for Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Even if two of Booker's rivals dropped out and endorsed the third, their combined support is nowhere near enough to threaten him. It's not much of a shift from a month ago, when Booker led with 53 percent.

Name recognition is a major factor; majorities say they don't know enough about any of the other primary contenders to judge their candidacies.

In the general election, Booker leads conservative activist Steve Lonegan 53 to 30 percent. Lonegan's primary lead over his only rival is even bigger than Booker's; he takes 62 percent of the vote.

"It looks as if the speculation was right: Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be a shoo-in for the U.S. Senate," pollster Maurice Carroll said.

So while the family of the late senator Frank Lautenberg may be supporting Pallone, it would take a much bigger shake-up to change the dynamics of this race.

The primary for Lautenberg's seat will be held in August, and the special election will be in October.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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