Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has a 79 percent approval rating and has at least a four-to-one lead over any potential mayoral challengers in a head-to-head race, according to poll results released by his campaign.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Based on a poll conducted by world-renowned Washington D.C. research firm Hart Research Associates between January 6 and January 8, Fulop has a 79 percent approval rating – based on “402 likely general election voters in Jersey City.”
Breaking down the number by demographics showed very slight differences, with white voters giving Fulop an 81 percent approval rating, as opposed to a 75 percent approval rating by both African Americans and Latinos.
Conversely, white voters gave Fulop a 16 percent disapproval, a figure that went up to 21 and 24 percent for African American and Latino voters, respectively.
As far as November’s election is concerned, in a “trial heat for the mayoral contest” against Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, former Assemblyman Charles Mainor and ex-Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis, Fulop wins with ease, according to the poll.
Fulop finishes with a solid 59 percent, with Yun and Mainor receiving eight percent of the vote each. Matsikoudis only notches two percent of the vote, while 23 percent of voters polled said they were undecided.
Additionally, in head-to-head contests, all of which seem unlikely based on the number of people who have expressed an interest in running, Fulop would defeat Yun or Mainor by the same margin – 62 percent to 15 percent.
Meanwhile, he would defeat Matsikoudis soundly one-on-one, with the poll giving Fulop a predicted victory of 68 percent to 8 percent.
Further poll results showed that 64 percent of voters had “positive feelings” towards Fulop, complimenting 92 percent of those polled recognizing Fulop’s name.
Again, Matsikoudis was at the bottom on the poll, with just eight percent of voters expressing “positive feelings” towards him and only 29 percent recognizing his name.
Furthermore, 74 percent of voters polled told Hart Research Associates that they have confidence Fulop has “a genuine and real commitment to improving Jersey City.”
The poll also noted that the results have a five-point margin of error.
Matsikoudis was critical of the poll, accusing the Fulop campaign of not releasing the complete results of the poll, which would’ve painted an entirely different picture.
“Fulop should immediately release the results of the many negatives that were tested in this poll. If he has this election in the bag, why is he releasing just this information?,” the candidate said via email.
“I relish the role of an underdog and I look forward to the results of future polls when the true negatives about Fulop are exposed. And they will be.”
Hannah Peterson, a spokeswoman for Fulop’s campaign, brushed off the criticism.
“The numbers here speak for themselves: they show overwhelming support for Mayor Fulop’s re-election campaign,” she said over the phone.
Meanwhile, between three accounts, the Election Fund of Steven Fulop, Team Fulop and the Jersey City Democratic Organization, the mayor’s campaign has previously said they have $327,088 at their disposal.
For now, Matsikoudis remains Fulop’s most aggressive challenger, with a war chest of $145,957.37, according to a December 6, 2016 filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC).
Yun, who has said he will announce in March if he will seek re-election or run for mayor, currently has $160,622.72 in his ELEC account, according to a November 17, 2016 filing.
As of this today, Mainor, who announced his candidacy in November, has not filed an ELEC report for the mayoral race.
Also worth noting is that the sample size of the poll was standard, but still modest compared to the tremendous voter turnout in May 2013, when Fulop defeated incumbent Jerramiah Healy.
In that election, Fulop received 20,373 votes (52%), while Healy received 14,575 votes (38%).
Yun did not immediately return an email seeking comment while Mainor could not be reached for comment.
The poll results can be reviewed here.