Whelan leads Balles among likely voters, 55-34, with 11 percent undecided. This represents a nine-point increase from the Sept. 11 poll, which showed Whelan holding a 51-39 lead.
Last week, reports surfaced that Balles spoke before the New Jersey Second Amendment Society on Oct. 7, and echoed a constituent’s call to “Go Get Your Gun,” when he told them to close the door if they saw Whelan coming.
The State Democratic Committee then called for Balles to
drop out of the race and resign as sheriff due to his comments.
That report surfaced on Oct. 17. This poll was conducted 626 likely voters from Oct. 17-20.
With about two weeks to go before the Nov. 5 elections, incumbent Republican John Amodeo leads the way with 23 percent of the vote. The race is tight, as incumbent Republican Chris Brown holds 22 percent of the vote, followed by Democratic challengers Vincent Mazzeo (21 percent) and Nick Russo (19 percent). A large portion remain uncertain, as 15 percent responded as “undecided.”
Gov. Chris Christie holds a 59-29 edge over Democratic challenger Barbara Buono in the latest poll. In the Sept. 11 poll, he led 56-34.
The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Live interviewers calling from the Stockton College campus called both landlines and cell phones.
Sixty-one percent of respondents reported having a favorable view of Whelan, and only 11 percent are unfamiliar with the Senator. By contrast, 36 percent have a favorable view of Balles and 40 percent are unfamiliar with the candidate.
Forty percent say an endorsement from Christie would have no impact on their decision in the Senate and Assembly races, while 29 percent would vote for a candidate endorsed by the governor and 27 percent would vote against a candidate who has Christie’s endorsement.
Fifty-two percent believe New Jersey is headed in the right direction while 33 percent believe it is on the wrong track, with 15 percent unsure, according to pollsters.
Nearly everyone agrees on property taxes, with 85 percent of respondents saying property taxes have increased “a lot” or “a little” over the past three years. Another 10 percent said their property taxes have decreased or stayed the same over that period.
As for a ballot question on whether the minimum wage should be increased in the state from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour, 76 percent are in support of the measure, while 16 percent are opposed.
Property taxes are the top priority among 22 percent of voters, followed by jobs at 20 percent; health care and K-12 education at 15 percent; and higher education at 10 percent.
The environment, state workers’ pensions and transportation were also mentioned, but none garnered more than 10 percent.