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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Jersey’s Favorite President? Bill Clinton

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just under half would like their own child to be President

Who is the Garden State's favorite president of all time?  Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll asked residents to name their choice from all who have served since 1789.  The results skew toward those in office during most New Jerseyans' lifetimes, with Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama topping the chart.

Preference for Clinton (21%) has held steady compared to a poll taken three years ago when 22% of New Jerseyans named him as their favorite president.  Reagan, though, has slipped from the top spot (24%) in 2010 to number two (16%) this year.  Obama increased his share of the Garden State "vote" for best president from 7% three years ago to 14% today.  Rounding out the top five are Abraham Lincoln - 12%, up from 7% in 2010 - and John F. Kennedy - 9% compared to 11% in 2010.  Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington each garner 4% of the vote.  The Presidents Day holiday was first established by Congress in 1879 as "Washington's Birthday," which is still its official name.

Among Republican state residents, Ronald Reagan is the clear favorite (38%) with Lincoln (15%) a distant second.  Among Democrats, Clinton (33%) is tops with Obama (26%) making a strong second place showing.  Among independents, Clinton (20%) just edges out Reagan (17%).

"Three years ago, Ronald Reagan garnered the most support of any president in our poll, but he seems to have lost some of that support to the nation's first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Among the state's youngest adults age 18 to 34, Clinton is tops (32%), followed by Obama (17%) and Lincoln (16%).  Among those age 35 to 54, Reagan (22%) and Clinton (22%) are tied for favorite president, followed by Obama (14%) and Lincoln (11%).  Among New Jerseyans age 55 and older, Reagan (19%) edges out Kennedy (15%), Obama (12%) and Lincoln (11%) as favorite president.

About 1-in-10 New Jerseyans (11%) report that, as a child, they wanted to be president when they grew up.  Men (16%) are more likely than women (5%) to have harbored that dream, but there is little gender distinction when it comes to their own children.  Just under half of New Jerseyans say they would like to see a son (46%) or daughter (47%) grow up to be president.  However, men are more likely to encourage that ambition in either a son (53%) or daughter (54%) than are women - just 39% would like to see either a son or daughter become president.

"Perhaps the gender disparity in these results is not because women think they are not up to the job of president, but because they wouldn't wish the job on anyone - male or female," said Murray.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll  was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 6 to 10, 2013.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune). 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.         Who is your favorite president of all time?  [LIST WAS NOT READ]

2.         When you were a child, did you ever want to grow up to be president, or not?

[QUESTIONS 3 AND 4 WERE ROTATED]

3.         If you had a young son, would you like to see him grow up to be president, or not?

4.         If you had a young daughter, would you like to see her grow up to be president, or not?

 

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 6 to 10, 2013 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents, including 603 contacted on a landline telephone and 200 on a cell phone.  Live interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc. and the telephone sample was obtained from Survey Sampling International.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state.  Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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