Menendez approval drops amid latest federal investigation, poll finds

While Menendez still has a net positive approval from Democrats, his overall approval has dropped eight percent, while disapproval has increased by seven percentage points. Additionally, Menendez has a 14 percent approval and 74 percent disapproval rate from Republicans and a 29 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval rate from independents, the second-largest share of voters in New Jersey.

Background: Menendez, who has not been charged, has been involved in a series of federal investigations, with one happening each decade since 2000. Currently, federal investigators are looking into Menendez and his wife’s connections to an Egyptian company.

The poll found that 57 percent of New Jerseyans had heard about Menendez’s investigation and about 60 percent of New Jerseyans think this affects his ability to serve the state. Of those who knew about the investigation, 65 percent think it affects Menendez’s ability to serve.

Menendez stood trial in 2017 on charges of bribery connected to a longtime friend and donor, but it ended in a mistrial and Menendez won another term a year later.

Compared to the previous investigations, Menendez has lower approval ratings than before, according to the poll.

Other findings: New Jersey’s other senator, Cory Booker, also saw a dip in approval but remains net positive.

This is the first time Booker’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent, according to the poll, with 47 percent approval and 40 percent disapproval from voters.

President Joe Biden’s approval ratings also dropped compared to a poll last year. He received a 41 percent approval rating from registered New Jersey voters and a disapproval rating of 52 percent. In 2022, he had 47 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval. The poll cites this decrease as a result of an eight point drop in approval ratings from New Jersey Independents.

The Monmouth University Polling Institute talked to 814 New Jerseyans by phone and online via text invitation from Aug. 10 to 14 for the poll. It had a 5.4 percent margin of error.

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