Monmouth poll: Incumbent GOP candidate trails Dem challenger in New Jersey House race
© Greg Nash

Incumbent GOP Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line MORE (N.J.) is trailing his Democratic opponent, Tom Malinowski, in the race for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, according to a poll released Thursday by Monmouth University.

The poll found that 47 percent of potential voters in the district indicated that they would support Malinowski, while 39 percent said they would support Lance. Twelve percent of respondents said they were undecided. 

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According to the poll, the race tightens when adjusted for likely voters. Among likely voters according to a historical midterm model, Monmouth found, Malinowski leads 46 percent of likely voters to Lance's 43 percent.

According to a model projecting a potential surge in Democratic turnout, the poll found, Malinowski leads 47 percent to 41 percent. Neither model is statistically significant, according to the poll.

“The fundamentals of this swing district favor Malinowski, but he has not been able to break clear of Lance’s deep roots here,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The House race has been rated by nonpartisan political handicapper The Cook Political Report as a "toss-up," with a slight Republican edge. 

The district was one of two districts in the state most affected by last year's tax-cut law.   

Polling has indicated that the legislation is an important factor in the midterm, with 14 percent of voters saying that tax policy was a top issue in their vote for Congress. Lance did not vote for the bill over objections to its cap on the state and local tax deduction. 

Sixty-two percent of potential voters in the district said it is very important for them to cast a vote expressing their feelings toward President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE.

Murray added that Lance faces a challenge in winning voters who disagree with President Trump and the GOP tax-cut legislation.

“It’s hard to buck a trend where voters really dislike both your party’s leader and signature accomplishment," he said. "But Lance is keeping this race close on the back of his reputation as a moderate as well as the goodwill he has built with constituents during his time in office. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to hang onto his seat.”

The poll surveyed 414 voters in the 7th District between Sept. 13 and 17, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.