A majority of New Jersey Democrats would back Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) over Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in a 2014 intra-party primary, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday.
Fifty-one percent of registered Democrats in the Garden State indicated they would prefer Booker to be the party's nominee in next year's U.S. Senate race, compared with 30 percent who gave the nod to Lautenberg.
The poll also showed that Booker is more personally popular among all New Jersey voters than Lautenberg. Fifty-four percent have a favorable opinion of the high-profile mayor, compared with 16 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. Lautenberg, meanwhile, is viewed favorably by 42 percent of voters while 32 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the incumbent senator.
It's the second poll this month to suggest that Lautenberg's time in the Senate may be running out. A survey released earlier this month from Fairleigh Dickinson University showed a plurality of New Jersey Democrats supporting Booker over Lautenberg in a hypothetical primary.
It has been more than a month since Booker announced his intention to pursue the 89-year-old Lautenberg's seat, but the longtime senator has yet to announce if he'll seek a sixth term next year. The move by the popular mayor was viewed by some as an affront to Lautenberg, prompting speculation that there is tension between the two. A Lautenberg aide called Booker "self-aborbed and disrespectful" in a recent interview with Politico. On Tuesday, Lautenberg seemed to insinuate that Booker deserves a "spanking."