STATE — With fewer than a hundred days left until the presidential election, Barack Obama has a sizable lead over his presumed Republican opponent among New Jersey voters. The President leads Mitt Romney by 13 percentage points (49 to 36%), according to the latest statewide poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.
Incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez, also a Democrat, is favored over Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos by 12 points (45 to 33%).
“Say what you want about New Jersey, but our residents can’t be pigeonholed politically,” said Krista Jenkins, Executive Director of PublicMind and professor of political science. “We have a Republican governor with strong approval, and yet registered voters are leaning heavily toward Democratic candidates for the White House and U.S. Senate.”
“The fact that registered voters seem to prefer Democrats for the White House and U.S. Senate yet support Republican Chris Christie could be explained by differences in parties at the state and national level,” according to Jenkins. “Republicans at the national level have taken on more divisive social issues, something that seems to not sit well with New Jerseyans, hence the support for Christie at home and Democrats Obama and Menendez in Washington.”
More than half of all registered voters (57%) remain uncertain about who Kyrillos is, and among them the majority are either positively predisposed toward the senator or have no opinion. The trend is in the right direction for Kyrillos, since the same question asked in May resulted in 68 percent of registered voters indicating their unfamiliarity with Senator Kyrillos.
“As voter attention begins to turn more closely to the election, Senator Kyrillos doesn’t appear to have a lot of baggage weighing him down,” said Jenkins. “This could work to his advantage given the double digit lead that Senator Menendez has going into the general election.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University statewide poll of 945 registered and unregistered voters was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from July 23 through July 29, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.