The Washington Times - August 2, 2012, 11:03AM

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey holds a 12-point lead in his race for reelection but it is still too early to close the door on his Republican opponent, according to a poll released Thursday.

The poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University shows that 45 percent of likely voters support Mr. Menendez while 33 percent support his GOP challenger, state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos. The poll also showed that President Obama has a 13-point lead in the state over presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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Mr. Menendez appears to be a comfortable favorite in the state and university as polls have consistently shown him with around a 10-point lead, with three polls in the past month indicating leads of 13, 9 and 12 points.

However, the FDU poll pointed out that Mr. Kyrillos has time to close the gap by appealing to the 57 percent of voters in its poll who said they were relatively unfamiliar with him.

“As voter attention begins to turn more closely to the election, Senator Kyrillos doesn’t appear to have a lot of baggage weighing him down,” said FDU political science professor Krista Jenkins.