By David Madden

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS) — That special election in New Jersey to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the US Senate (see related story) may not be the walk in the park that many suggested it would be for Democratic frontrunner Cory Booker.

Many polls had Booker (currently the mayor of Newark, NJ) leading his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan (the former mayor of Bogota, NJ) by 20 points or more.

But now, a Quinnipiac University poll gives Booker only a 12-point advantage over Lonegan, 53 percent to 41, with about three weeks to go.

“The crime statistics out of Newark, Booker’s city, have not been good lately, and there was that publicity about his business ventures,” notes poll director Mickey Carroll.  “It’s a reasonably close race.”

Party loyalty plays heavily in the poll, with independents about evenly split.  Blacks are decidedly behind Booker, while whites favor Lonegan slightly.

Women back Booker 3-2, while men are almost evenly divided.

Carroll believes the poll may show this becoming a real race, but probably doesn’t indicate an actual change in the final election result: a victory for Booker.


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