A Rutgers-Eagleton poll of New Jersey residents found that only 34 percent want Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez to step aside now because of his recent federal corruption indictment.
Fifty-eight percent say he should stay, unless he is found guilty.
Menendez was indicted by a grand jury last week for accepting gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit Melgen’s financial and personal interests, according to the court filing.
The allegations against Menendez, a senior lawmaker on foreign policy and banking, raise the possibility of Republicans gaining a 55th Senate seat to strengthen their hand in policy fights with President Barack Obama, a Democrat, should the senator decide to resign his seat.
The poll reflects a change from a Rutgers poll in 2009, when half of those surveyed wanted any pol accused of a crime to step down immediately.
The Press of Atlantic City suggests: “Maybe New Jersey residents are softening their stance on corruption allegations, or maybe the case against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is not as clear cut as other scandals.”
Many analysts have said the case against the senator, a former mayor of Union City, New Jersey, indeed seems fuzzy.