The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll found that only 10 percent of those surveyed have an unfavorable opinion of Republican candidate Richard Zimmer -- but 44 percent said they had never heard of him and 29 percent had no opinion of him. Even among Republicans, 62 percent said they did not know enough about Zimmer to have an opinion.
"If three quarters of the public know nothing about the Republican nominee for the United States Senate, then he's certainly got a long climb," said Peter Woolley, the poll's director.
Zimmer is hardly a political newcomer. He served more than a decade in the state legislature and three terms in Congress, leaving to run unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1996. This year, he won a three-way Republican Senate primary.
Among registered voters, 45 percent said they would vote for Lautenberg and 28 percent for Zimmer.
Lautenberg, who has been in the Senate for most of the past 26 years, has far higher favorable and unfavorable ratings than Zimmer.