By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Can anyone say they know exactly where the NJ-03 race stands? At this moment?
It’s an open question, Save Jerseyans, especially since we’ve only seen one general election cycle public poll released. That Stockton poll showed a tie, 42% to 42%. The only other polls released are internal: a DCCC poll from on October 1st showing Aimee Belgard up by one (43% to 42%) and, today, Adam Geller (Christie’s pollster) released a polling memo reporting Tom MacArthur leading by 7-points.
What we know? (1) This is likely a single-digit race, and (2) slanderous DCCC advertising + the reality of an open seat have somewhat evened the odds for Belgard in a district, and a cycle, that otherwise favor Republicans ever so slightly.
But keep these two big variables in mind, too, when attempting to handicap the NJ-03 contest…
Roll Call didn’t post the actual DCCC memo, but I can’t find any verification of what they use in terms of the polling sample’s partisan composition. I do suspect it’s nowhere close to the 35% Republican, 36% Democrat and 29% Independent composition of Adam Geller’s survey. We do know it’s an auto poll; Geller uses live interviewers.
Secondly, for a little perspective, keep in mind that NJ-03 is a lean-R district, not a strong R district. Jon Runyan won by only 3-points (2010) and 9-points (2012), respectively. Geller nailed the primary results.
If he’s right again, then MacArthur is running well-ahead of the former Philadelphia Eagle’s 2010 margin. No small feat…
“While the overall political environment has shifted in the Republicans’ favor, this district requires two things in order for Republicans to succeed: An environment that is not lousy for the GOP (think 2008) and a strong candidate with a good message,” Geller concluded. “We have both of these lined up and should continue to prosecute a compelling narrative in favor of Tom MacArthur and against Aimee Belgard.”‘
I strongly suspect that the DCCC/Belgard peaked in September.
The DCCC naturally isn’t convinced. Or they are running out of places to put their money. Likely some combination of the two.
They no longer enjoy “air superiority” like they did over the summer (MacArthur is spending a 6-figure sum on a weekly basis from here on out), but the Democrat Party’s congressional campaign apparatus doubled-down on their insurance-themed attacks on MacArthur on Monday in a new TV spot. Everything the DCCC has said about MacArthur’s career to date eventually turns out to be bunk, Save Jerseyans, but as Churchill famously said, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on: