by Craig Dimitri

In the Garden State, there is only one House district in play.  And like most House races in blue states in 2006, it’s held by a Republican incumbent, trying to shake off a Democratic challenger.  U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson still can’t bank on defeating Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D), come Tuesday.  The latest independent MajorityWatch poll shows Ferguson clinging to a three-point lead, 46%-43%, but that lead is within the poll’s 3.07% margin of error.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 24-26, among 1,013 likely voters.   Ferguson, like some Northeast incumbents, did not appear to be in for a difficult re-election this year.  First elected in 2000, he secured easy re-election in 2002 and 2004, both by double-digit margins.  In 2004, George W. Bush carried the NJ-7th CD by a 53%-47% margin over John F. Kerry.  Basically, it’s an affluent GOP district.

The contest is essentially unchanged, from when MajorityWatch polled it earlier in the month, October 8th-10th.  With a virtually identical sample size and margin of error, it found Ferguson to hold a narrow three-point lead, 49%-46%, likewise within the margin of error.  There has been little, if any, change in the race in the ensuing three weeks.

The district splits along geographical lines.  Stender is running most strongly in the two eastern counties, Union and Middlesex, where both October polls showed her with a slim lead.  Stender is a former Union County freeholder.  However, Ferguson more than makes up for it in the western counties, Somerset and Hunterdon, where he has a double-digit lead in both polls.

Ferguson still must be considered the favorite to win, but a district like this one can mean the difference between a Democratic majority, and a huge Democratic majority.  Democrats certainly don’t need to defeat Ferguson to take power; there are far more vulnerable GOP incumbents scattered through America to bother with a powerful attack on him in a GOP district.  But if Stender wins… it’ll be an even better evening for Democrats, both New Jersey and nationally.

Ferguson official campaign site –

Stender official campaign site –

MajorityWatch poll –

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at 


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