Meanwhile, though his approval rating was underwater two months ago, Menendez's numbers have ticked up slightly: Now, 42 percent of voters approve of his job performance, while 35 percent disapprove. In August, 39 percent approved, and 42 percent disapproved.
Forty percent of voters feel that Menendez deserves to be reelected, while 38 percent think he does not deserve reelection. Two months ago, 43 percent thought he did not deserve to be reelected.
Matched up against a generic Republican, Menendez has a slim lead, 42 percent to 39 percent. Independents prefer a generic Republican candidate, 42 percent to 35 percent.
Menendez "doesn't have a 2012 opponent yet, but he ought to be watchful," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Mickey Carroll.
"His job approval and 'deserves reelection' scores are pallid and even Democratic disapprovers are in the double digits," Carroll said.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted Oct. 5-10, surveying 1,186 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percent.