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February 09, 2017

Latest poll reveals uncertainty in race for New Jersey governor

Most New Jersey voters are unsure whom they want to be the major party's nominee in the upcoming gubernatorial race, a new survey revealed.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll was released Thursday, showing that no potential candidate is currently pulling more than 20 percent of the vote in the contest to succeed outgoing Gov. Chris Christie.

The early frontrunner on the Republican side is Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno with 18 percent of the vote, but 52 percent remain undecided and an additional 13 percent say they prefer "someone else." Somewhat surprising, former 'Saturday Night Live' cast member and comedian Joe Piscopo secured second place in the poll with 12 percent. Piscopo, who has never held an elected office, has not yet declared his intention to run. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers each received two percent of support.

Among Democrats, former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy is leading with 17 percent of the vote. Half of respondents are unsure and 17 percent indicated support for "someone else." Trailing Murphy are state Sen. Ray Lesniak with seven percent, Assemblyman John Wisniewski with six percent and former U.S. Treasury official Jim Johnson with two.

"The uncertainty that voters are expressing today is not uncommon. To date, there have been few advertisements and the fragmented nature of New Jersey’s media markets makes name recognition hard to achieve,” said Krista Jenkins, poll director and professor of political science.

The poll contacted 839 registered New Jersey voters via landline and cellular phones between Jan. 25-29. The margin of error is +/-3.7 percent.

Primary elections are scheduled to take place on June 6.