Menendez leads in NJ Senate race despite negative views from voters: poll

Menendez leads in NJ Senate race despite negative views from voters: poll
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Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid House passes temporary immigration protections for Venezuelans Senate panel advances bipartisan bill to lower drug prices amid GOP blowback MORE (D) is leading over Republican opponent Bob Hugin in the New Jersey Senate race, even as nearly half of his constituents report a negative view of him, according to a new Monmouth University Poll

The poll found Menendez with a 49 percent to 40 percent lead over Hugin, a self-funding retired pharmaceutical CEO.

The senator led even as 45 percent of those polled reported unfavorable views of Menendez, though 64 percent saying charges he recently faced on corruption, which were ultimately dropped, are "about the same as what most other politicians do."

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Menendez recently faced a corruption trial but the Department of Justice ended up dropping the charges. 

The poll found that voters' negative views of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE outweigh their concerns about Menendez. 

A majority of voters polled said their views of Trump are more important than their views of Menendez when it comes to their vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Forty-two percent of New Jersey voters said they approve of Trump while 55 percent disapprove of him. Seventy-two percent of voters reported that Trump is a "very important" factor in their Senate choice. 

"If these poll results hold, the first person Bob Menendez should thank in his election night victory speech is Donald Trump,” said Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth University Polling Institute. 

A majority of voters, around 88 percent, said they were aware of the corruption charges against Menendez.  

“You’ve got to wonder if New Jersey voters look at corruption through a different lens than other voters," Murray said. "But it’s worth pointing out that Republican House incumbents in upstate New York and southern California are currently under indictment and remain competitive in their re-election efforts. So perhaps the goalposts have been moved nationwide in recent years." 

The poll was conducted from Oct. 11-15 among 527 likely voters. The margin of error is 4.3 percent.