Half of New Jersey voters oppose re-electing U.S. Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, who is currently on trial on federal corruption charges, according to a survey released Thursday.
Fifty percent of voters feel New Jersey’s senior senator does not deserve to be reelected next year, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Twenty percent said he should be re-elected and 30 percent were undecided.
Thirty-one percent of voters approved of the job Menendez is doing in the Senate, his lowest rating since February 2008, when he had 30 percent approval.
Support for Menendez was higher among Democrats, at 45 percent approval.
Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said the federal trial may be “posioning the landscape” against the senator.
“If Sen. Menendez is convicted, he obviously won’t be in the running next year,” Carroll said. If he is acquitted, who knows.”
Menendez is accused of doing official favors for a friend in exchange for lavish vacations, private jet flights and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. His trial began Sept. 6.
If Menendez is convicted and resigns or is forced to step down before Republican Gov. Chris Christie leaves office in January, 24 percent of voters polled said Christie should appoint his replacement. Sixty-eight percent said that responsibility should fall to the next governor, who is widely expected to be a Democrat. Only 3 percent said Christie should appoint himself to the Senate seat.
Christie’s own approval rating remains in the teens. At 16 percent, it is one percentage point higher than his record-low of 15 percent, which was recorded in two separate polls earlier this summer.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has a 32 percent approval rating among New Jersey voters — 4 percentage points higher than in June.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker continues to receive relative high marks, with a 55 percent approval rating, down 3 percentage points from June.
The latest Quinnipiac poll was conducted Sept. 7 to Sept. 12. The university surveyed 1,121 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
View the Quinnipiac poll here.