The Club for Growth has released a poll showing Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg and former Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer in a dead heat, with Zimmer taking 36 percent of the vote to Lautenberg’s 35 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll has Lautenberg ahead 48 percent to 41 percent. But even that can’t be terribly reassuring for the incumbent, since he is only up by seven points and is below 50 percent. Another poll shows a toss-up in a hypothetical governor’s race between Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine and Republican U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, suggesting an underlying weakness in the Democratic brand in New Jersey.
When I wrote about this Senate race in the May 5 issue of The American Conservative, before Zimmer was nominated and when there was even talk of having him tossed off the primary ballot, I concluded the contest would be interesting but Lautenberg was likely to win. I haven’t revised that prediction yet and consider Louisiana the Republicans’ only remotely realistic Senate pickup opportunity this fall, but this is becoming a race worth keeping on the radar screen.