Monmouth University CD-11 Poll: Sherrill 48% – Webber 44%; with Dem More Dominant in Surge Poll

In one of the most-watched congressional contests in the country, Democrat Mikie Sherrill maintains her lead over Republican Jay Webber in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, according to today’s Monmouth University Poll. But it’s very close in a district where voters are divided on President Donald Trump and hold a negative view of the GOP tax plan passed by Congress last year. The Supreme Court nomination process has not noticeably moved this race in either direction, according to the poll.

Sherrill currently holds a 48% to 44% lead over Webber among likely voters using Monmouth’s standard midterm turnout model, with 1% supporting another candidate and 6% undecided. The race stands at 50% for Sherrill and 43% for Webber using a model that incorporates a turnout surge in Democratic precincts. A model projecting lower overall turnout shows Sherrill with a 48% to 45% edge over Webber. These results are in line with where the race stood in Monmouth’s June poll, except there are now fewer undecided voters. At that time, Sherrill was ahead by 4 points in the standard model (44%-40%), with 15% undecided.  She also led by 6 points in the Democratic surge model (45%-39%) and by 3 points in the low turnout model (44%-41%). All leads in the current likely voter models are within the margin of error for the poll.

“The basic contours of this race have not changed. Even though Republicans have the edge in party affiliation, many are not happy with the president or key GOP initiatives such as the tax reform plan,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is not having much of an impact on this race. More than 3-in-4 (78%) likely NJ-11 voters say that this has not caused them to change their vote for the House. Among the remainder, 10% say the Kavanaugh issue has made them more likely to support Webber, 8% say it has made them more likely to support Sherrill, and 3% say it has made them more undecided.

“Most of the voters who say they have been motivated by the Kavanaugh nomination are partisan identifiers, which suggests this issue has been more likely to firm up their choice rather than actually flip their vote. These results suggest that the factors driving this race have already been baked in. Any new developments only serve to strengthen the choices voters were already inclined to make,” said Murray. He added, “But we did notice some very slight shifts over the weekend as the confirmation vote played out but nothing definitive. We will continue to monitor this issue in future polls.”

NJ-11 voters are divided on whether they prefer to have Republicans (45%) or Democrats (42%) in control of Congress, which is basically unchanged from their 43% to 41% preference for GOP control in June. While there is a slight lean toward the GOP, this is a marked contrast from the huge margins racked up by the district’s outgoing Republican incumbent. Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen – whose retirement led to the open contest for this seat – won this district by a minimum of 19 points in every election since his first victory in 1994.

At the presidential level, district voters are about evenly divided between saying they approve (49%) or disapprove (48%) of the job Trump is doing.  Trump’s rating in June stood at 47% approve and 50% disapprove.  Trump won this district by one point in 2016 while Mitt Romney won it by 6 points in 2012.  Overall opinion of the president may be evenly divided, but he tends to have a net negative impact on voter motivation.

Currently, 75% of likely voters say that the president is a very important factor in their House vote, including 84% of Trump opponents and 77% of Trump supporters.  In June, a similar 72% said Trump was a very important factor, although there was a larger gap between opponents (86%) and supporters (67%) who felt this way.

Last month, Trump tweeted his endorsement of Webber, surprising some political observers including the Republican candidate himself.  Only 31% of NJ-11 voters are aware of the president’s support. Regardless of whether they are already aware of the Trump endorsement, just 15% of voters say it makes them more likely to support Webber while a larger 28% say it makes them less likely to support Webber. Another 56% say Trump’s tweet has no impact on their vote choice.

“It’s no surprise that Webber has not been trumpeting the president’s endorsement when you look at these poll numbers. Trump does not really help even though this is a Republican district,” said Murray.

Three-in-four (74%) likely NJ-11 voters say they have a lot of interest in the upcoming House election, which is identical to the 74% who said the same in June. There has been a 5 point increase in interest among Democrats (84%, up from 79%), but a slight decrease in interest among Republicans (65%, from 67%) and independents (76%, from 77%).

Among all the issues involved in the race, the Republican tax plan is particularly unpopular in this wealthy district where many voters worry about an adverse impact from the new SALT deduction limits. Opinion currently stands at 43% approve and 46% disapprove, which is identical to Monmouth’s 43% approve and 46% disapprove result on this question in June. Significantly more voters strongly disapprove (34%) than strongly approve (25%) of the tax plan.

“If anything should play well in a wealthy Republican district, it’s a tax cut. But the elimination of certain deductions takes the sheen off this plan for many voters in New Jersey’s 11th,” said Murray.

 When asked to choose their top issue in the House race from a list of six included in the poll, health care (24%) emerges as the top pick, followed by immigration (19%), tax policy (16%), gun control (16%), abortion (10%), and job creation (9%).  When asked who they trust more to keep health care affordable, 41% choose Sherrill and 29% choose Webber, with 17% saying they trust both candidates equally. When asked who they trust more to handle tax policy, 37% choose the Democrat and 33% choose the Republican, with 17% saying they trust both equally.

Nearly half (45%) of NJ-11 likely voters have a favorable view of Sherrill compared to just 15% who have an unfavorable view, with 40% expressing no opinion. Webber currently earns a relatively weaker 35% favorable and 21% unfavorable rating, with 45% having no opinion. The percent who express no opinion of either candidate is slightly lower than it was in the summer. In June, Sherrill had a rating of 37% favorable, 8% unfavorable and 55% no opinion, while Webber had a rating of 26% favorable, 14% unfavorable and 60% no opinion.

Looking at demographic breakdowns of the vote, Webber leads Sherrill among men by 54% to 39%, which is slightly larger than his 48% to 38% edge in the summer. However, the Democrat has also extended her lead among women, which is currently 57% to 35% compared with 50% to 32% in June.  Webber continues to lead among white voters without a college degree – 50% to 41%, which is smaller than his 54% to 26% advantage in June.  The two candidates are tied among white voters with a college degree at 47% to 47%. Sherrill led among this group in June by 58% to 35%.  She has offset this drop by extending her lead among non-white voters – currently 68% to 24% over Webber, compared with 48% to 27% in June.

Webber has pulled farther ahead in the Republican-leaning Morris and Sussex portions of the district – now leading Sherrill 50% to 42% there compared with 44% to 41% in June. Sherrill has countered this with wider advantages in the Passaic (58% to 35% compared with 50% to 35% in June) and Essex (56% to 37% compared with 45% to 37% in June) portions of the district.

Monmouth University conducted the poll by telephone from October 3 to 7, 2018 with 356 likely voters in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points. The error of the difference between the two candidates’ vote share (i.e. the “lead”) is +/-7.3 percentage points.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.

 

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS                                                             

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)         

1/2.   If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was today, would you vote for Jay Webber the Republican or Mikie Sherrill the Democrat, or some other candidate? [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following at this moment, do you lean more toward Jay Webber or more toward Mikie Sherrill?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]      

Likely Voters

with leaners

Oct. 2018

June 2018

Standard
Midterm

Democratic
“Surge”

Low Turnout

Standard
Midterm

Democratic
“Surge”

Low
Turnout

Jay Webber

44%

43%

45%

40%

39%

41%

Mikie Sherrill

48%

50%

48%

44%

45%

44%

Other

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

(VOL) Undecided

6%

6%

6%

15%

15%

14%

    (n)

(356)

(356)

(356)

(339)

(339)

(339)

                                              

[QUESTIONS 3 & 4 WERE ROTATED]

3.      Is your general impression of Jay Webber favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Favorable 

35%

26%

Unfavorable

21%

14%

No opinion  

45%

60%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

4.      Is your general impression of Mikie Sherrill favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Favorable 

45%

37%

Unfavorable

15%

8%

No opinion  

40%

55%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

5.      How much interest do you have in the upcoming election for House of Representatives – a lot of interest, a little interest, or not much interest at all?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

A lot

74%

74%

A little

22%

19%

Not much at all

4%

6%

(VOL) Don’t know

0%

0%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

6.      Have you been following the campaign in your congressional district very closely, somewhat closely, or not too closely?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Very closely

24%

17%

Somewhat closely

47%

49%

Not too closely

29%

33%

(VOL) Don’t know

0%

0%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

7.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president? [Do you (approve/disapprove) strongly or somewhat?]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Strongly approve

39%

34%

Somewhat approve

10%

13%

Somewhat disapprove

5%

4%

Strongly disapprove

43%

46%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

3%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

8.     On most issues would you say you support or oppose what President Trump is doing?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Support 

48%

44%

Oppose 

46%

50%

(VOL) Depends/both 

5%

4%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

2%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

9.      How important is it for you to cast a vote for Congress that shows your [support of/opposition to] President Trump – very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Very important

75%

72%

Somewhat important

9%

16%

Not too important

5%

3%

Not at all important

3%

2%

(VOL) Don’t know

8%

7%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

10.    Would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats in control of Congress, or doesn’t this matter to you?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Republicans

45%

43%

Democrats

42%

41%

Does not matter

10%

13%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

3%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

11.    Please tell me which one of the following policy issues is most important to you in your vote choice for Congress? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

Immigration policy

19%

Health care policy

24%

Gun control policy

16%

Abortion policy

10%

Tax policy

16%

Job creation policy

9%

(VOL) Other

3%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

    (n)

(356)

 

[QUESTIONS 12 & 13 WERE ROTATED]

12.    Who do you trust more to work to keep health care affordable – Jay Webber or Mikie

Sherrill, or do you trust both equally? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

Jay Webber

29%

Mikie Sherrill

41%

Both equally

17%

(VOL) Neither one

5%

(VOL) Don’t know

8%

    (n)

(356)

 

13.    Who do you trust more to handle tax policy – Jay Webber or Mikie Sherrill, or do you trust both equally? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

Jay Webber

33%

Mikie Sherrill

37%

Both equally

17%

(VOL) Neither one

4%

(VOL) Don’t know

9%

    (n)

(356)

 

14.    Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform plan passed by Congress in December?  [Do you (approve/disapprove) strongly or somewhat?]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

June
2018

Strongly approve

25%

27%

Somewhat approve

18%

16%

Somewhat disapprove

12%

15%

Strongly disapprove

34%

31%

(VOL) Don’t know

11%

12%

    (n)

(356)

(339)

 

15.    Have you heard that Jay Webber was endorsed by Donald Trump in a tweet last month, or haven’t you heard about this?

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

Heard

31%

Not heard

69%

    (n)

(356)

 

15A. Does Trump’s endorsement make you more likely to support Webber, less likely to support Webber, or does it not change your vote choice either way?           

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

More likely to support Webber

15%

Less likely to support Webber

28%

Does not change vote choice

56%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

    (n)

(356)

 

16.    Has anything that’s happened in the last few weeks related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court caused you to change your mind about who you will support in the election for House of Representatives, or hasn’t it changed your mind? [If “YES”: Has this made you more likely to support Webber, more likely to support Sherrill, or has it made you more undecided?]

Likely Voter Standard

Oct.
2018

Yes, more likely to support Webber

10%

Yes, more likely to support Sherrill

8%

Yes, more undecided

3%

No, has not changed my mind

78%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

    (n)

(356)

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 3 to 7, 2018 with a random sample of 356 likely voters in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, drawn from a list of registered voters who voted in at least one of the last four general or primary elections or have registered to vote since January 2016. This includes 221 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 135 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, party registration, age, gender, education and race based on state voter registration list and U.S. Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and L2 (voter sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Party Registration

41%  Republican

36%  Democrat

23%  Neither

 

Self-Reported Party ID

38%  Republican

31%  Independent

31%  Democrat

 

48%  Male

52%  Female

 

13%  18-34

21%  35-49

33%  50-64

33%  65+

 

83%  White, non-Hispanic

17%  Other

 

40%  No college degree

60%  4-year college degree

 

29%  Essex County

50%  Morris County

15%  Passaic County

  6%  Sussex County

 

 

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe

(+/-)

ALL LIKELY VOTERS

 

356

5.2%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

126

8.7%

Independent

120

9.0%

Democrat

109

9.4%

IDEOLOGY

Conservative

102

9.7%

 

Moderate

145

8.1%

 

Liberal

99

9.9%

GENDER

Male

171

7.5%

Female

185

7.2%

AGE

18-49

132

8.5%

50-64

116

9.1%

65+

104

9.6%

COLLEGE by RACE

White, No degree

93

10.2%

White, 4 year degree

190

7.1%

 

Other race, Latino

60

12.7%

COUNTY

Morris/Sussex

205

6.9%

 

Passaic

55

13.2%

 

Essex

96

10.0%

VOTE CHOICE

Webber

148

8.1%

 

Sherrill

163

7.7%

 

Other, undecided

45

14.6%

 

 

 

 

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