With just 28 days of campaigning left before the midterm election new poll numbers are out in a battleground race considered key to which party controls congress. It’s the race for the right to represent New Jersey’s 11th congressional district. Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron will be moderating a debate between the candidates on Wednesday. Michael how close is it?
The race is very close. In the Monmouth poll released today, Democrat Mikie Sherrill leads Republican Jay Webber by four points—48 percent to 44 percent. I spoke to pollster Patrick Murray.
“Mikie Sherrill has a statistically insignificant lead in everything that we’ve done. We’ve not seen anything move that much over the summer, there hasn’t been a lot of momentum on way or the other or that’s counteracted that. The big thing about this district is — at its core it’s still a Republican district. That they prefer Republicans, they generally have a Republican sensibility, but two things. They like Mikie Sherrill better than they like Jay Webber, even though they’re republicans, they’re not really happy with a number of things the Republicans have done and they’re not happy with some of the things Donald Trump has done,” Murray said.
Murray asked respondents whether the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight affected their choice. Ten percent said it made them more likely to vote for Webber. Eight percent said it made them more likely to vote for Sherrill. Seventy-eight percent said it has not caused them to change their vote at all.
“This is the third district we’ve polled now since that controversy broke a little over a week ago, and in all these districts — New Jersey’s 11th is no different — it really isn’t moving the needle. You know, the vast majority of voters a say they are not changing their minds because of this and those that say they’re going to change their mind really are partisan voters, they’re Democrats or Republicans who are already kind of toying with knowing they were going to vote for their party’s nominee and just kind of this solidified for it,”Murray said.
Despite the slight preference for the Democrat Sherrill in the head-to-head against Webber, when asked which party they’d prefer to see control Congress, 45 percent of 11th district voters said the Republicans and 42 percent said the Democrats.
“This is a Republican district, this is a district that under any other circumstances would prefer to vote for a Republican by large margins. But this is not normal circumstances, these are New Jersey Republicans, who tend not to be happy with the way Trump has conducted himself, they tend not to be happy with the tax cuts plan, particularly the loss of the SALT deduction, which impacts this district more than it impacts probably any other district in the country in a negative way. And those are the kinds of things where they kind of scratch their heads and say where is my Republican Party going. Mikie Sherrill has presented herself as a kind of solid candidate with military background. We find that she has significantly positive favorably ratings more so than Jay Webber does. And put that little package together and that’s why at least in the polling right now she’s been able to overcome the underlying fundamental edge you’d think a Republican would have in this district,” Murray said.
So the race is still up for grabs. The candidates, Sherrill and Webber, will be here Wednesday, October 10 for a live debate. You can watch it on air or online from 8 to 9:30.