More New Jersey Democrats would rather see Newark Mayor Cory Booker win the Garden State's Senate seat than the seat's current occupant, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., according to a new poll released Thursday.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll shows that 42 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters say that, if the party were to retain Lautenberg's Senate seat in the 2014 general election, they would like to see Booker win. That compares to just 20 percent who would like to see Lautenberg be reelected. Seventeen percent of Democratic voters said they would like to see someone else elected, and 21 percent were undecided.
Booker announced last month that he would explore running for Senate, even though Lautenberg, who will turn 89 later this month, hasn't yet announced whether he will seek reelection. On Tuesday, Booker told CNN that he has "deep respect and love" for Lautenberg, but the two had not yet spoken about next year's race.
"I hope to talk to him -- we've reached out to him a number of times," Booker said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" Tuesday. "In fact, I had a plane trip going down to meet with him and unfortunately, with a lot of the challenges going down in Washington, he had to cancel the meeting."
Krista Jenkins, the poll's director and a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, said, "These numbers suggest that some difficult days may lie ahead for the incumbent senator should he seek reelection."
"Booker has clearly leveraged his position as mayor of Newark to an admirable degree," Jenkins added.
The poll was conducted Jan. 2-6, via landline and cellular telephone. The poll surveyed 336 registered Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.4 percentage points.