NEW BRUNSWICK – A majority of New Jersey voters say that they prefer to keep Democrats in control of the state Legislature, but only 30 percent say they would vote for their current legislators according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
“Though it’s early, voters are quite clear they prefer divided state government,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “They also show a limited understanding of the current environment, since throwing out incumbents would basically mean giving Republicans control in Trenton.”
Fifty-four percent of registered voters want a Legislature controlled by Democrats that could act as a check on Republican Gov. Chris Christie, while 37 percent want a Republican Legislature that would support Christie, according to the poll. More than 80 percent of Republicans and Democrats want their own party to control the Legislature, while independents favor Democratic control 48 percent to 38 percent.
Fifty-four percent of voters want to replace their current legislators, while 30 percent would vote to re-elect them. The remaining 16 percent are unsure.
“Voters often don’t know their legislators names or even party affiliation, leading to this apparently contradictory result,” said Redlawsk. “They do know they want change of some sort, but they also don’t want to give the governor carte blanche.”
Nearly half of the state’s registered voters support a second term for President Barack Obama, with Democrats overwhelmingly favoring the President. Only 14 percent of New Jersey Republicans believe Obama should be re-elected.
Republicans voters have no clear favorite to challenge Obama. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 12 percent backing, Christie was at 11 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had 10 percent. Forty-two percent did not name a candidate.
The poll of 912 New Jersey adults was conducted between Feb. 24-26 and has a +/- 3.3 percent margin of error.
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