By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey political pollsters are turning their attention to the next U.S. senate race, which is a year and a half away.

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700 people across the Garden State were called by the Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll and asked about incumbent Democrat Frank Lautenberg and his only announced opponent, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

“Those men are widely known in the state, but that’s where the story diverges a bit. That is to say, Cory Booker has a sizably more favorable rating than does Frank Lautenberg,” says poll director Krista Jenkins.

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How sizable? Sixty-six percent of all those surveyed like Booker, compared to 45 percent for Lautenberg.

Democrats were asked who they’d vote for today in a primary showdown between the two. Forty-two percent would favor Booker while Lautenberg garners 20 percent.

But that primary is in June 2014, an eternity in politics, and those numbers can and probably will change.

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