Kean Vs. Menendez
Something many of us have long been assuming, that a decent number voters are confusing GOP Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr with his ex-Governor father, has been confirmed by the latest Eagleton Poll from Rutgers University. Menendez leads the poll overall, with 40% to 35% for Kean Jr among registered voters. Naturally, the numbers only get better for Menendez when you filter out the voters who have their Tom Keans mixed up.We have no doubt some people may be confusing Tom Kean Jr. with his father, but an unbiased look at the poll results would lead most to conclude that the vast majority of those surveyed are confused about both Kean and Menendez.
The percentages of voters who think Tom Kean Jr served as Governor of New Jersey or was a member of the 9/11 Commission are 12% and 11%, respectively. When their preferences are removed from the results, Menendez's lead goes up to 42% to 33%. And it's not just the Kean confusion that skews the numbers. As the Eagleton press release notes, "[t]hose who were more knowledgeable about politics showed a very different pattern of responses than those who were less knowledgeable."
Here are the “knowledge questions” asked by the Eagleton Poll. The same questions were repeated to those surveyed in relation to both Kean and Menendez.
I'm going to read you a list of public offices and as I read each one, please tell me if Robert Menendez/Tom Kean Jr. now holds or has ever held this position? (Member of Congress, U.S. Senator, Member of the NJ Legislature, Governor of New Jersey)Here are the poll results with the correct responses highlighted in green.
From what you know, was Robert Menendez/Tom Kean Jr. a member of the 9-11 Commission?
As Shields points out, 12% of those surveyed guessed Tom Kean Jr. had been or is now Governor of New Jersey and 11% thought he had been on the 9/11 Commission. Thus Eagleton and Shields conclude people are confusing Kean Jr. with his father. Well, the survey also found 10% thought Kean Jr. had been or is a member of Congress and 8% thought he was or is currently a U.S. Senator. Tom Kean Sr. held neither office. Which Congressman and which Senator are these respondents ‘confusing’ with Tom Kean Jr.? And who are they 'confusing' with Bob Menendez?
In the final analysis, as our chart shows below, the vast majority of respondents didn’t have a clue - either guessing wrong or unable to answer every question with the exception of the one about Governor. On the Governor question, 26% didn’t know whether or not Menendez is or has been Governor and 35% answered similarly about Kean. But on the most relevant question, what office does each man currently hold? - 74% of the respondents didn’t know Bob Menendez is a U.S. Senator and 74% didn’t know Tom Kean Jr. is a New Jersey State Senator.
You have to wonder why the 12% who thought Kean is or has been Governor were ‘filtered out' to improve Menendez’ results, rather than the 74% who are unaware that Menendez is a U.S. Senator to improve Kean's? Why bother with a ’filter’ at all when so many people don’t know much about either candidate?
Here are our conclusions based upon the poll results:
- The majority of respondents expressed a preference for a candidate based upon being told the political party of each man.
- Right now the race is close.
- The vast majority of New Jersey voters are clueless.