The race for New Jersey's 6th Congressional District seat in Monmouth and Middlesex counties has become closer in the past three weeks.
Incumbent Democrat Frank Pallone holds a 7-point lead over Tea Party-backed Republican Anna Little, 52 percent to 45 percent, according to a Monmouth University Poll made public Tuesday.
A poll taken three weeks ago found Pallone ahead by a 53 percent to 41 percent among likely voters in this district.
"Anna Little's gains have come from a tremendous grassroots effort in her home region of Monmouth County," Patrick Murray, the poll's director, said. Frank Pallone will need to bet on a strong turnout in more Democratic areas of this district to fend off this challenge," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute."
Three weeks ago, Little had 47 percent to Pallone's 49 percent in mainly Republican Monmouth. However, Pallone continues to hold a sizable 58 percent to 37 percent lead in predominately Middlesex and in Plainfield and Franklin (Somerset). This is similar to his 58 percent to 33 percent showing in Democratic areas in an Oct. 6th Monmouth University poll.
Little has increased her lead among independent voters by 58 percent to 37 percent, compared to 51 percent to 38 percent three weeks ago. She holds on to 86 percent of the Republican vote, while Pallone takes 88 percent of the Democratic vote.
Voters who report already casting their ballots by mail make up about 7 percent of the total likely voter sample. The margin for these early voters matches the overall vote total at 52 percent Pallone and 45 percent Little.
Pallone's job performance rating among likely voters in this district stands at 45 percent approve to 43 percent disapprove. His approval number is basically the same as three weeks ago when it was 46 percent, but his disapproval number is up from 36 percent.
Pallone garners personal ratings of 45 percent favorable to 39 percent unfavorable, compared to 48 percent to 32 percent three weeks ago. By comparison, 38 percent of voters give Little a favorable rating — up from 33 percent three weeks ago — and 31 percent unfavorable — up from 22 percent. About 3 in 10 or 31 percent have no opinion of the Republican challenger, which is down from 45 percent three weeks ago.
The poll was conducted by automated telephone interviewing with 647 likely voters from Friday through Monday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM