Monday, November 1, 2010

The Day before...

It's the day before the Tsunami election of 2010, or whatever the pundits are calling it. There is no denying the Republican trend - certainly in New Jersey we see more enthusiams among Republicans, a swing twoard Republicans for independent voters (if they show up), and today we report that NJ voters appear to prefer some Republican solutions to issues, at least statewide.

Our polling last week gives us a sense of the overall environment throughout the state, but it not meant to describe any one Congressional district (except for the specific polling we did in CD 3.

So here's today's release - an overview of where we are right before the election. A PDF of the full release with all tables is available here.


NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J – Taxes, the economy and unemployment will be primary on the minds of voters as they head to the polls tomorrow. New Jerseyans believe Republican policies are more likely to fix the economy, are less favorable toward such Democratic measures as government stimulus spending and view GOP leaders more favorably than their counterparts, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

“In addition to a clear ‘enthusiasm gap’ where Republicans are more motivated to turn out, voters are also more favorable toward GOP officials and approaches,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “New Jersey voters are paralleling what is being seen all over the country, but most Garden State congressional districts are so one-sided that the majority of incumbents are unlikely to feel the direct effects.”

Results are from a statewide Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of 885 registered voters, including 552 likely voters, was conducted October 21-27, with a +/- 3.3 percentage point margin of error for registered voters and +/- 4.1 for likely voters. Generic vote questions were asked of random half-samples, which have a margin of error of +/-4.6 percentage points for registered and +/-5.9 for likely voters. The poll did not survey individual congressional districts and provides a general sense of the state rather than specific results for any one race.

Most important problem

Asked about the state’s most important problem, 31 percent of likely voters say taxes of some type, while 20 percent name jobs and 10 percent offer the economy. Education also draws 10 percent, followed by the budget deficit at 7 percent. Of those who name taxes, 56 percent will vote for a Republican congressional candidate and 31 percent for a Democrat.

Of those who say jobs or unemployment is most important in New Jersey, 65 percent prefer a Democrat, while 14 percent prefer a Republican. Among those who think the economy is most pressing, 48 percent will support the GOP and 39 percent will vote Democratic. Where education is the top concern, 47 percent say they will vote for the Democrat and only 20 percent will support the Republican.

“There are clear differences between the parties on theses issues, and voters recognize them,” said Redlawsk. “Voters who focus on taxes prefer Republican approaches, but those focused specifically on jobs lean Democratic. The problem for Democrats is that voters in New Jersey are more worried about taxes than they are jobs.”

More prefer Republican approach to job creation

The greater concern about taxes results in a preference for a Republican-oriented approach to job creation across all likely voters. Asked whether tax cuts or government spending would create jobs more effectively, the majority (51 percent) of likely voters say the former will help more. Only 38 percent favor government spending for creating jobs. Of those preferring tax cuts, almost three times as many say they will vote Republican as Democratic (63 percent to 23 percent). Among those who prefer government spending, likely Democratic voters far outstrip Republics by nearly 5-to-1 (71 percent to 15 percent).

Likely voters like Christie, dislike Pelosi, are split on Obama

Preference for a Republican approach to jobs is reflected in likely voters’ evaluations of elected officials. They view Gov. Chris Christie favorably, are divided on President Obama and appear decidedly negative toward Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Half hold a favorable impression of the governor, while 38 percent hold an unfavorable impression, a significant improvement since a September Rutgers-Eagleton Poll showed that 46 percent or all registered voters were favorable, and 42 percent unfavorable toward Christie. Sixty-six percent holding a favorable opinion of Christie will vote Republican, and 19 percent will vote Democratic. Of those who hold an unfavorable opinion of the governor, 79 percent will vote Democratic and only 10 percent will vote Republican.

Pelosi is evaluated much less favorably: by a 2-to-1 margin, likely voters hold an unfavorable impression of the speaker. Of these, 67 percent will vote GOP and 18 percent will vote Democratic.

Likely voters are evenly divided on Obama. Forty-four percent have a favorable impression, 45 percent unfavorable. Eighty-four percent who hold Obama in esteem will vote Democratic tomorrow, 75 percent with a negative opinion of the president will vote for the GOP hopeful.

More likely voters approve of Christie’s job performance than Obama’s

Job approval ratings for Obama and Christie show even more clearly how dissatisfied likely voters are with Democrats. Christie enjoys a 12 percentage point lead in positive job approval ratings over Obama. A majority think Christie is doing an excellent (19 percent) or good job (32 percent) job, a six-point gain since September. Fewer than 40 percent believe that Obama is doing an excellent or good job (14 and 25 percent, respectively). Almost half say Christie is doing a fair or poor job, while nearly six-in-10 say the same of Obama.

More Obama voters will defect

While 77 percent of those who voted for Obama in 2008 plan to vote for Democrats for Congress, 10 percent plan to vote for Republicans, 6 percent say they would prefer a third party candidate and 6 percent are unsure who they will support. John McCain voters are more likely to stay loyal to the GOP: 84 percent say they will vote a Republican for Congress, 6 percent support a Democrat and 9 percent say they don’t know.

Obama: Stay home and do your job

Just as last month’s poll found that New Jerseyans preferred Christie to work on issues affecting the state rather than campaigning across the country, the new poll offered similar results for Obama. Almost two-thirds think he should remain in Washington rather than support candidates out of town. Only those who believe Obama is doing an excellent job say he should campaign, with 66 percent of this group happy to have him support other candidates

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