Poll shows Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla well positioned to win Congressional race for NJ District 8

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla with his family, a photo featured in his announcement video. PHOTO: Videograb from Congressional run announcement video

A recent survey conducted by GQRR (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research) of 403 likely primary voters in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District shows Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla well positioned to beat incumbent Congressman Rob Menendez.

According to GQRR, the trial heat is statistically tied with Bhalla receiving 41 percent to Menendez’s 44 percent of the vote with 15 percent undecided.

“Menendez’s share of the vote is likely his ceiling, with his own poll showing the incumbent only receiving 46 percent of the vote among registered Democrats in the district,” GQRR said.

“There is very little room for Menendez to grow his share of the vote, while Bhalla has tremendous upside,” GQRR added.

Menendez is known by 87 percent of the voters, but has net negative ratings, 35 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable, the pollster noted, While voters may confuse Bob (Senator Menendez) and Rob Menendez, the Menendez name remains a significant liability, according to GQRR. The poll found “Bob Menendez is underwater by 33 points (27 percent favorable, 60 percent unfavorable) and fully 73 percent believe he is “guilty of bribery and serving the interests of foreign governments.” Nearly two thirds (64 percent) say “it is time for new leadership in Congress.””

In contrast, Bhalla has room to grow, GARR predicts.

His name identification stands at 43 percent and voters view him positively, 25 percent favorable versus 8 percent unfavorable.

In Hoboken and neighboring Jersey City and Bayonne where voters know him best, his name identification is 54 percent with 37 percent favorable, 8 percent unfavorable.

“After voters hear positive information about both candidates, Bhalla vaults into the lead garnering 59 percent of the vote to Menendez’s 33 percent,” GQRR poll shows.

“The fact that Bhalla is outraising Menendez means he will have the resources to introduce himself to the rest of the district on his own terms,” the company said.

Mayor Bhalla was born and raised in New Jersey and is a civil rights attorney. He was elected Mayor in 2017 and re-elected in 2021. In December he kicked off his campaign for Congress running as a Democrat against fellow Democrat Robert Menendez Jr. Bhalla graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, received a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics, and earned his law degree at Tulane. He and his wife Bindya live in Hoboken with their two children, Arza, age 16, and Shabegh, age 11.

A methodological note from GQRR says: We have two competing surveys with an important methodological difference. The Menendez survey was conducted among registered Democratic voters – not among voters with a history of voting in the Democratic primary. Even with a competitive Senate primary on the ballot, it is implausible that 100 percent of registered Democrats will participate in this primary. Why does this matter? Registered voters are less informed and less engaged than primary voters; not only would they be less familiar with Bhalla, they would also be less conversant with charges against Bob Menendez. Our poll shows that the most reliable Democratic primary voters are the most hostile to Rob Menendez.



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