LD 7 Republican poll shows a contest for assembly seats
By Max Pizarro | October 25th, 2011 - 3:19pm
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A Republican-commissioned poll of Legislative District 7 voters deems the Assembly contest a toss-up, with state Sen. Diane Allen, (R-7), Edgewater Park, in an especially commanding position as the only clear-cut, over-50% candidate in the district.

Conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, the poll obtained by PolitickerNJ.com shows voters preferring a Republican 35.0% versus 33.0% who prefer a Democrat, with 37% undecided; and shows Gov. Chris Christie in solid position with a 64% approval rating.

Democrats immediately voiced skepticism over the results, and at least one expert said it should be approached with caution.

“There are missing questions here that could have biased the outcome if they were message-testing type questions,” Monmouth University Pollster Patrick Murray said. “Another thing is where do they draw the sample from? We just don’t know enough about this poll.

“What it suggests to me is, again, they (Republicans) are putting a little bit of money there in case lightning strikes,” he added of the 7th Assembly races.

According to the poll, the veteran Allen has a 67% favorable rating, and 11.3% unfavorable. Nineteen percent have no opinion of the senator and 2.7% have never heard of her.

Allen’s Democratic opponent, Beverly Mayor Gail Cook, has a favorable rating of 12.7%, and unfavorable rating of 7.7%; 39.3% of respondents have no opinion of Cook and 40.3% have never heard of her.

None of the Assembly candidates has a distinct advantage in the poll, with veteran Assemblyman Herb Conaway, (D-7), Delanco, at 33.7%, Republican Mount Laurel Mayor Jim Keenan at 32.7%, Republican businessman Chris Halgas at 31.7%, and former legislative aide Troy Singleton at 28.3%.

Incumbent Conaway has a 31% favorability rating, and an 18.3% unfavorable rating; 33.7% have no opinion of the assemblyman and 17% have never heard of him, according to the poll.

Cook and Conaway’s running mate, Singleton, has a 20% favorable rating, according to the poll, 11.3%  unfavorable; 39.3% have no opinion of him and 29.3% have never heard of him.

Republican Keenan has a 22% favorable rating, 19% unfavorable; 35.7% have no opinion of Keenan and 31.7% have never heard of him.

Allen and Keenan’s running mate, businessman Halgas, has a 16.7% favorable rating; 9.7% unfavorable; 34.7% have no opinion of him and 39% have never heard of him.

A Democratic source close to the race said the poll was not consistent with their party’s internals.

"Anytime you see internal polling being peddled around, I don’t care which party it is, you generally are seeing a nervous camp,” said the source. “It’s pretty much the equivalent of calling for more debates or maybe even promoting a Dave Pringle endorsement as meaningful.  Basically, polls like this are not believable because no candidate this late who is leading can possibly be in the low 30’s. 

“The pollster here is obviously excluding voters leaning one way or another in order to try to make the race look closer than it is,” the source added. “Those guys have never been within 8-10 points of Democrats which, to be sure, is not a huge lead in a low turnout election but the GOP numbers seem pretty bogus.  Ultimately, spin from either side is irrelevant – it will come down to airtime and GOTV in Willingboro. The best move Herb and Troy made was hiring the very same field operatives who helped Adler beat Runyan in Burlington County in a brutal 2010 cycle for Dems."  

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Names on the LD7 GOP bench

In the event that state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) doesn't run for re-election in 2017, the party has a short list of possible candidates it could field to try to head off either Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) or Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7).

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