A new poll in New Jersey’s 3rd District shows Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in a near-tie with Democratic challenger Andy Kim.
The Monmouth University survey found MacArthur, a two-term congressman, leading Kim, who served in national security and counterterrorism roles in the Obama administration, 41 percent to 40 percent among all potential voters. Fifteen percent of respondents were undecided. Under a likely voter model based on historical midterms, the result was essentially unchanged, with Kim up a point, 45 percent to 44 percent.
Support for the two candidates was divided between the two media markets the district falls between. In the eastern Ocean City area in the New York media market that supported President Donald Trump in 2016, MacArthur led Kim 47 percent to 32 percent.
In the western Burlington County part of the district, covered by the Philadelphia media market, the numbers were almost reversed with Kim ahead 47 percent to 37 percent.
“The different media markets mean that voters in the 3rd may not see the same campaign playing out,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The high number of competitive districts in the Philadelphia media market should lead to independent organization spending designed to gin up the partisan bases. This could spark higher turnout in the western portion of the district, which would boost Kim’s chances.”
“On the other hand, MacArthur would benefit if there is a surge among Trump supporters in the eastern part of the district if they see this race as a referendum on the president,” Murray said.
Overall, 46 percent of 3rd District voters approve of Trump while 49 percent disapprove. But there are differences between the district’s two geographic areas.
In the Ocean City section, 56 percent of voters approve of Trump and 39 percent disapprove. In the Burlington County area, 38 percent approve of Trump and 57 percent disapprove.
The poll surveyed 401 voters by phone from Aug. 7-9. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points for the full sample and 5.7 percentage points for likely voter models.
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