6:29 AM, Oct 27, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In the latest wave of the New York Times/CBS/YouGov poll, Cory Booker leads Jeff Bell 51-39.
Bell's admirers (of which I'm one) might be tempted to conclude: Not a bad showing for Bell in a race where the conventional wisdom has been that Booker would win by at least 20 points. Bell's run an interesting campaign, he's raised important issues, it looks as if he'll achieve a respectable if losing result while being massively outspent, and one can leave it at that.
Not quite so fast.
Take a look at some of the poll's internals. Booker is winning Democrats by 91 to 4 percent; Bell is winning Republicans by the exact same overwhelming margin. Those numbers were predictable. (Polarization, anyone?) But take a look at this: Bell is winning independents, who are expected to be close to a third of the electorate, by 45 to 37 percent. I'm not sure observers would have predicted that.
So if Bell is leading among independents, why is Booker ahead? Well, because there will be more Democrats than Republicans voting on Election Day in New Jersey. How many more? That's the question.
The Democratic registration edge is about 7 to 4, and YouGov seems to have weighted the sample accordingly. But what if Democratic turnout is down (Obama has about a 41 percent approval in New Jersey)? And what if Republican turnout is up? If the partisan differential gets smaller, at some point Bell's lead among independents can make up the gap.
To their credit, YouGov releases the unweighted as well as the weighted results from its poll. As it happens, YouGov's unweighted sample, for whatever reason, has about a 6 to 5 ratio of Democrats and Republicans. With that kind of less dominant partisan breakdown, and with his lead among independents, Bell pulls into something close to a dead heat with Booker.
Of course the fact that the poll happens to have a 6 to 5 partisan distribution doesn't suggest that will be the distribution on Election Day. But it does show how much Booker's lead depends on Democrats coming out to vote in traditional numbers, and also on no further erosion of what is already a surprisingly weak showing by Booker among independents. Neither of those is assured.
This race may not be over yet.
2:09 PM, Oct 14, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Jeff Bell used to email us to pitch articles for THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Now he emails asking for help for a TV buy in his New Jersey Senate race.
Jeff's articles were always interesting and contrarian. His race is, too. With no TV so far, only radio and mail, he's drawn within nine points of Cory Booker. Watch the ad below:
9:41 AM, Oct 14, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Federal authorities are investigating possible corruption in a Newark government agency that was chaired by Democratic senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. The New York Post has the story:
The inquiry centers on alleged misappropriation of taxpayer funds first uncovered by the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office and a local watchdog group.
11:29 AM, Oct 11, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, leads his Republican challenger Jeff Bell by just nine points in a new poll from the Stockton Polling Institute. The survey of likely voters found 48 percent supporting Booker and 39 percent supporting Bell. The results show the race tightening from the previous Stockton poll in September, which had Booker leading Bell by 13 points.
5:06 PM, Oct 9, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new ad from the conservative American Principles Fund targets New Jersey senator Cory Booker, saying the Democrat is a crooked pol who uses his power to "enrich himself."
8:28 AM, Oct 2, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The new Quinnipiac poll of the New Jersey Senate contest shows Jeff Bell only 11 points down to Cory Booker, 51 to 40 percent, among likely voters. It goes without saying that a race can move a dozen points in the final five weeks of a campaign—especially when a little known challenger (but one who's well-regarded by those who do know of him) is taking on a pro-Obama incumbent who's barely above 50 percent in an anti-Obama, anti-incumbent year.
3:29 PM, Sep 10, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey reveals an astonishing trend: Cory Booker, the state's Democratic senator running for a full term this fall, frequently polls below 50 percent support against his Republican challenger, Jeff Bell. The latest survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University shows 42 percent of registered voters say they support Booker, while 29 percent say they support Bell. Twenty-seven percent, meanwhile, say they haven't made up their minds yet.
Or does it?7:14 AM, Aug 27, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Do Washington Republicans smell blood in New Jersey? The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP's Senate campaign apparatus, issued a press release Wednesday knocking New Jersey's Democratic senator Cory Booker for being a "tax & spend liberal."
The release groups Booker with another incumbent Democrat, Alaska's Mark Begich, as two former mayors (of Newark and Anchorage, respectively) with liberal records. Here's an excerpt:
Majority don't trust Fed to fix it.1:01 PM, Aug 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Things are getting more expensive, and the American people know it. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found three-quarters of Americans say they are concerned about inflation, with 81 percent saying they are paying more for groceries and 71 percent saying they expect to pay even more for groceries a year from now. Here's more:
Jeff Bell’s unorthodox Senate campaign. Sep 1, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 47 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
"Welcome to our campaign headquarters,” Jeff Bell said to an out-of-town reporter the other evening, standing in the lobby of a convention hotel here, hard off the Interstate. He wasn’t kidding: This is indeed the headquarters of the Jeff Bell for U.S. Senate campaign, for the moment anyway. He could do worse. The lobby is airy and spacious, the bathrooms are clean and commodious, and the location can’t be beat.
1:44 PM, Aug 8, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
At National Review Online, Eliana Johnson has a piece documenting many of the unanswered questions about the life and career of New Jersey senator Cory Booker. Johnson provides this example for how the Democratic senator's stories about himself don't always add up:
3:51 PM, Aug 6, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican challenger Jeff Bell trails incumbent New Jersey senator Cory Booker by just 10 points, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac. Among registered voters in the Garden State, just 47 percent say they support Booker, the Democrat who won a special election to the Senate last fall and is running for a full term. At 37 percent support is Bell, a conservative activist who was the GOP nominee for Senate in 1978.