STATE – New Jersey voters are almost evenly split on their opinion of President Barack Obama’s job performance, according to a new statewide poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™. The president enjoys a one point advantage, with 46 percent approving and 45 perceent disapproving.
More voters are now optimistic about the direction of the country: 28 percent say the United States 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 percent-40 percent, say the country is headed in the right direction, a significant change from the previous measure when many more Democrats (49 percent) said the country was on the wrong track than said it was headed in the right direction (36 percent).
“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, would defeat two possible Republican challengers in hypothetical matchups. He beats state Sen. Joe Kyrillos by 43 percent-31 percent, and defeats Tea Partier Anna Little by the exact same margin, 43 percent-31 percent.
“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.
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