Stockton University Poll Has Van Drew Far Ahead of Grossman

Same Poll Shows Hugin Beating Menendez In South Jersey
Sep 26, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill Jeff Van Drew greeting voters at a campaign event in Barnegat Township on September 16.

Stockton University released the results of its first poll of the 2018 New Jersey 2nd Congressional District race between Democrat Jeff Van Drew and Republican Seth Grossman last week, and its findings showed a clear favorite in the Nov. 6 election. Van Drew, a dentist and state senator representing New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District since 2008 and before that an assemblyman representing that same district from 2002 to 2008, led Grossman, an attorney and former Atlantic City councilman and Atlantic County freeholder, by 23 points, 55 percent to 32 percent, in the phone poll conducted between Sept. 12 and 18.

Van Drew was viewed favorably by 49 percent of the 535 likely voters polled and unfavorably by 11 percent while 40 percent of those likely voters were not familiar with him. Meanwhile, Grossman was viewed favorably by 20 percent of those polled and unfavorably by another 20 percent, while 60 percent of voters weren’t familiar with him.

Van Drew was supported by 88 percent of Democrats, 17 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of unaffiliated voters. Grossman earned the support of only 2 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of unaffiliated voters.

Four independent candidates – William Benfer, Steven Fenichel, John Ordille and Anthony Parisi Sanchez – each received 1 percent support in the poll conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

The poll found taxes or income taxes as the most important issue for 16 percent of South Jersey voters in the 2018 election. President Trump is the second major issue, the most important among 11 percent of those polled. Control of Congress was the third most crucial issue, picked by 9 percent as the most important while health care or the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, came in as the fourth most important issue, with 8 percent of those polled calling health care the most critical issue.

Interestingly, health care/Obamacare is an important issue from two perspectives. While 46 percent of the respondents said they opposed President Trump’s moves to weaken Obamacare, 30 percent supported such moves.

The Stockton University poll supports the conclusions of three major political newsletters – “The Cook Political Report,” “Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales” and “Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball” – that had all pegged the 2nd District as “Likely Democrat” throughout the summer.

Stockton University pollsters also questioned those 535 likely South Jersey voters about the 2018 race for the U.S. Senate seat between Democratic incumbent Robert Menendez and GOP challenger Bob Hugin. Apparently South Jersey voters are willing to split their tickets this autumn because the poll showed Hugin ahead by 10 points, 46 percent to 36 percent.

Menendez had a six-point lead in a statewide Quinnipac University poll conducted between Aug. 15 and 20. But RealClearPolitics, a Chicago-based political news and polling data aggregator, ran an article on Sept. 21 with the headline “Menendez in Jeopardy as Senate Challenger Makes Push.”

Unlike Grossman, who has less than a tenth of the campaign war chest of Van Drew, Hugin has outspent Menendez by a huge margin. According to the Federal Election Commission, the wealthy former biopharmaceutical executive had raised $16,728,876, much of it his own money, and had spent $8,614,870 as of June 30 while Menendez had raised $6,134,561 and spent only $1,350,279 on that same date.

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District is made up of all or part of eight South Jersey counties, including all of Southern Ocean County save half of Stafford Township and all of Barnegat Township.

— Rick Mellerup

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