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Poll: Donor controversy hurts Menendez popularity

Published On: Feb 21 2013 12:06:13 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 21 2013 02:11:27 PM EST
Senator Robert Menendez D New Jersey

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A donor controversy is taking a toll on U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's popularity, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows the Democrat's job approval rating at a five-year low of 36 percent, compared with 41 percent who disapprove of his performance.

It also shows 44 percent think Menendez isn't honest and trustworthy, compared with 28 percent who believe he is.


Menendez was recently named chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, but his ties to a Florida eye doctor and political donor have been referred to a Senate ethics panel.

"Whenever a politician gets a new job, such as Sen. Menendez' position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the knives come out," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But, by almost 3-1, voters think the Menendez charges are worth investigating. About one quarter think it's just politics."

Menendez reimbursed the doctor $58,000 for flights to the Dominican Republican aboard his private plane.

The poll of 1,149 registered voters was taken Feb. 13-17 and has an error margin of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.