Lonegan can close the gap
New Jersey voters do not buy that Newark Mayor Cory Booker is a “new kind of politician,” according to the Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll released this morning.
Booker responded on social media. He’s a kind politician, not a new kind of politician.
Hmmm. This post might give New Jersey more insight into Booker’s foreign policy philosophy than the Lonegan campaign’s “silly and childish” tweet during a Democratic primary debate. Let’s be kind to terrorists and our foreign enemies. That fits with the Obama/HClinton/Kerry foreign policy of apologizing for America.
Patrick Murray’s poll of likely voters continues to show Booker beating GOP nominee Steve Lonegan by double digits. Today’s 54%-38% Booker lead is nearly identical to the pre-primary 53%-37% lead the Newark Mayor enjoyed in June. In other words, Lonegan has gained no ground by deploying his anti-Obama campaign strategy in the last two months.
But despite his huge victory, the Democratic primary took something of a toll on Booker’s favorability ratings, which have dropped 12 points net since June. Given how easy Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt went on Booker during the primary, a 12 point drop is significant.
In order to close the gap and make the Special Senate Election competitive, Lonegan needs to scrap the idea of making the campaign a referendum on President Obama’s policies. We had that referendum last November and Obama won in New Jersey by 18 points. Lonegan has said that Obama’s numbers are going to drop. They have dropped a bit, only 49% of New Jersey likely voters told the Monmouth University poll that they approved of the President, while 43% disapprove. If those numbers suddenly plunge, Lonegan will benefit without trying. If Obama’s approval stays stubbornly positive, as they have through various scandals, Lonegan stands to gain little ground.
50% of those who said they have a favorable opinion of Booker also said they could change their minds. Booker’s favorables are soft. Obama’s have proven to be stubborn.
Lonegan and friendly Republican Super PACS, have a better shot of closing the gap by making the race a referendum about Booker and running ads like this:
There is good news for Lonegan in today’s Monmouth poll. He still has an opportunity to define himself to much of the New Jersey electorate. 49% of likely voters, including 31% of Republicans and 48% of Independents have no opinion of him. Surprisingly, 64% of Democrats have no opinion of Lonegan.
In order for Lonegan to close the gap, or even win the Special Election on October 16, he needs to both exploit Booker’s significant weaknesses and change the way he portrays himself.
The tough blind guy act won’t sell. The angry constitutionalist won’t sell either. Lonegan needs to stop talking about the founding fathers. Anyone who can name more than four of the founding fathers off the top of their heads and knows that Lincoln isn’t one of them, already knows who they are going to vote for.
Lonegan needs to humanize himself. A self-depreciating joke about his past ranting rhetoric and a moving story about over coming his real handicap would make him likeable and more heroic than Booker.
Speaking to voters concerns about what he is for; private sector jobs, health insurance we can afford, and getting the government off our backs, without mentioning Obama, will win more votes than angry rants about history and what he is against. Lonegan doesn’t have to compromise his principles to deliver his message in a winning way. He needs to speak to the voters, from his principles, about their concerns. His solutions are better than Booker’s.
Booker only has a 2 point lead among Independents, according to the Monmouth Poll. Lonegan has an opportunity to win the Independent voters and win back the majority of the 16% of Republicans who said they were going to vote for Booker. He might not win on October 16, but he can close the gap and keep running for a rematch in November of 2014, when Obama’s numbers are really likely to be lower.
If he keeps doing what he is doing, Lonegan loses in a landslide, which would be a shame. MMM thinks Lonegan is the second best Republican political talent in New Jersey, after Chris Chrisite. If he can get out of his own way, he has a future and can make a difference. If not, he will be an unemployed loser of October 16.