As Republicans continue to duke it out for the GOP presidential nomination, New Jersey voters are split on President Obama's job evaluation, according to the latest recent statewide poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind.
According to the FDU poll, 46 percent of Garden State voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president while 45 percent disapprove—a reversal, albeit barely, of two previous polls in which the majority of voters didn't give his performance a thumbs-up.
Also, more voters said they were optimistic about the country's direction. 28 percent said the country is taking the right path—a jump of six points—while 61 percent still believe the U.S. is on "the wrong track."
Read the release below for more and take our poll.
New Jersey voters split on President Obama’s job evaluation: 46% approving to 45% disapproving. According to the most recent statewide poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMindTM, Obama’s one-point advantage is an improvement from two previous three-point deficits (44%-47%). However, the president has a deficit of eight percentage points among men (40-48) compared to an advantage of nine points among women (51-42).
Some voters are now more optimistic about the direction of the country: 28% say the country is headed in the right direction, an uptick of six points. And there is a corresponding six-point drop, to 61%, in those saying the country is on the “wrong track.” The shift is accounted for almost entirely by Democrats. Democrats, by a margin of 47%-40%, say the country is headed in the right direction, a significant change from the previous measure when many more Democrats (49%) said the country was on the wrong track than said it was headed in the right direction (36%). Republicans continue to agree overwhelmingly (87%-6%) that the country is on the wrong track.
“Democrats are eager to note any improvements in the economy,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. He added, “Given the intense criticism by Republicans of their own candidates for the presidency, Democrats are feeling Obama’s chances of re-election have improved.”
Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who shares the president’s election cycle in 2012, defeats two possible Republican challengers in hypothetical match- ups. He beats state Sen. Joe Kyrillos by 43%-31%, and defeats Tea Partier Anna Little by the exact same margin, 43%-31%.
“Without Tom Kean, Jr., the Republicans right now have only the equivalent of generic candidates—not well enough known statewide to have a brand name,” said Woolley. “That’s the difficulty of having so few statewide elected offices. Challengers typically must struggle for name recognition.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Jan. 2 through Jan. 8, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.