By David Madden

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS) — A new survey suggests that most New Jersey voters want US senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to remain in office as he faces federal corruption charges.

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The Rutgers-Eagleton poll of 860 registered voters in the Garden State found most giving their senior senator the benefit of the doubt.

“Fifty-eight percent of New Jerseyans say the senator should stay put:  he should not quit, despite calls from various editorial boards, unless and until he’s actually found guilty,” notes poll director David Redlawsk.  “Only 34 percent feel he ought to step down immediately.”

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Perhaps a bit of a surprise, Menendez’s favorability numbers have not taken a serious hit in the poll, down from 37 percent “favorable” in February to 34 percent now.

Still, those who say they “know a lot” about the indictment — alleging he illegally used his influence to help a political contributor — give Menendez a 45-percent “unfavorable” rating, compared to 27 percent overall who give him a negative rating.

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