New Jersey voters like Frank Lautenberg well enough. He has a 43/36 approval rating and in a hypothetical match up with Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno he would lead right now by a 15 point margin at 48/33.
Democratic primary voters are pretty happy with Lautenberg right now too. 63% approve of the job he's doing to 18% who disapprove. Nevertheless they're ready for a fresher face in the Senate. Only 36% of them think Lautenberg should seek another term in 2014, while 45% think he should retire and 20% are not sure.
If Lautenberg was to retire- or even if he doesn't- the choice of New Jersey Democrats to be their next Senator is clear: Cory Booker. By a 59/22 margin Democrats say they would prefer their candidate in 2014 be Booker than Lautenberg. And Booker emerges as the strong favorite in an open seat situation too. 48% would want Booker as their candidate compared to 17% for Rob Andrews and 13% for Frank Pallone, both Congressmen who have shown an interest in moving up.
Booker would be even stronger than Lautenberg in a head to head match up with Guadagno, leading her 52 to 29. 48% of New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Booker to only 20% with a negative one. He's very popular with Democrats (60/13) and independents (45/21) and even comes close to breaking even with Republicans at 29/34. In the match up with Guadagno he takes 21% of the GOP vote while losing only 7% of Democrats, and wins independents by an 18 point margin.
The Governor's race would be an uphill battle for Booker as two polls released earlier this week show and ours, out tomorrow, will as well. But the Senate seat may be his for the taking if he's looking for a promotion.
Full results here