NJ Senator Bob Menendez
US Senator Robert Menendez AFP

Embattled U.S. Senator Bob Menendez announced in March he would ditch the Democrats and run as an independent in the next New Jersey elections, as the party has all but let him go following a series of formal accusations of bribery against him.

However, a new poll shows that his decades-long standing in local and national politics might not help him retain his seat, garnering little support from the state's electorate at the moment.

The survey, conducted by Emerson College Polling/PIX11/The Hill, showed Menendez with a meager 9 percent support in the general election, compared to 49 percent for the Democratic candidate and 42 percent for the Republican one. Representative Andy Kim is cruising to be the Democratic candidate, with over 50 percent of support and a large lead over all other contenders.

Same as the Democratic party, voters seem to have soured on Menendez following the accusations against him. The poll shows him with a 14 percent job approval among New Jersey voters, compared to 62 percent who disapprove of him.

His standing is slightly higher with voters of color, but still nowhere near the levels needed to be competitive: "Hispanic and Black voters in New Jersey are more supportive of Menendez as an independent candidate, 17% support the senator rather than a hypothetical Democratic or Republican candidate, compared to 6% of white voters," Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a press release.

Menendez announced he won't run for reelection in the Democratic primary in late March, following formal accusations that he took bribes in exchange for political favors. He added that he would considered an independent run if he was exonerated of the standing charges.

Speaking about the allegations, Menendez said that even though he's "innocent and will prove so," they won't allow him to "have that type of dialogue and debate with political opponents that have already made it the cornerstone of their campaign."

The announcement followed several calls for resignation from fellow Democrats, including several lawmakers and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Menendez stepped down as chair of the Foreign Relations committee but refused to leave his seat.

Menendez faces an array of charges alleging that he and his wife, Nadine, accepted bribes in the form of cash, gold bars and even a luxury car, to help and protect three local businessmen and benefit the governments of Qatar and Egypt. They have also been accused of obstructing the investigation in the case, which is set to go to trial in May. Both him and his wife have pleaded not guilty.

Menendez stands formally accused of working as unregistered foreign agent of Egypt, as well as on behalf of the three different businessmen, seeking a range of favors, including seeking more lenient rulings in criminal investigations.

One of those businessmen, Jose Uribe, entered a plea agreement in the case in early March. Uribe, who faced seven charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion, was also accused of giving Nadine Menendez a Mercedez-Benz.

In January, Menendez was also accused of introducing a member of the Qatari royal family member and prominent figure in the country's investment fund to Fred Daibes, another of the New Jersey businessmen, before the company invested millions in his real estate project.

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