Skip to main content
CloseSearch

Democrats Preferred in Midterms Despite Biden’s Poor Ratings

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Booker, Menendez ratings stable; Dem voters want to move up presidential primary

West Long Branch, NJ – New Jerseyans prefer to keep Democrats in control of Congress, but it’s not a large enough edge to avoid the possibility of some close contests this November. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds that public opinion of President Joe Biden continues to be underwater while ratings for the state’s Democratic U.S. senators remain positive. Democrats support a bid to make the Garden State one of the nation’s first presidential primaries.

Just over half of New Jerseyans either prefer (43%) or lean toward (9%) keeping the Democrats in power in Congress. About 4 in 10 want to switch to Republican control (34% prefer and 7% lean). A national Monmouth poll conducted last month produced a more divided result (46% of Americans wanted Democratic control and 45% wanted Republican control).

The current findings are in line with a similar question Monmouth asked New Jersey voters in April 2020, when 50% indicated they would support the Democratic candidate for Congress and 38% would back the Republican. Democratic House candidates ended up with a 15-point edge in the cumulative statewide vote that year, although 5 of the state’s 12 districts had margins of 8 points or less.  Back in the 2018 midterm election, Democrats held a 19-point advantage in Monmouth’s April polling (54% to 35%) and ended up with a 21-point margin in the final statewide vote tally.

“It’s important to keep in mind that we are measuring leadership preference rather than vote intention with this question. Still, these results suggest that we could see a similar turnout pattern to two years ago. That means there should be some close House races, depending on how the president is doing in the fall and the impact of redistricting,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Currently, Biden has a net negative job rating of 45% approve to 50% disapprove in New Jersey, a state he won by 16 points in 2020. The president’s rating was positive into last summer, but dropped significantly right before last year’s gubernatorial election. Among Black, Latino, and Asian residents, Biden holds a 51% approve to 40% disapprove rating.  Last May, he had a much larger 69% to 24% positive margin with this group. His current rating among white New Jerseyans is a negative 42% approve to 56% disapprove (compared with 45% to 50% in May 2021).

New Jersey opinion of the president’s job performance is lower than ratings given to other Democratic officeholders. Specifically, Sen. Cory Booker has a 53% approve to 32% disapprove rating and Sen. Bob Menendez has a 42% approve to 38% disapprove rating. In a Monmouth poll released yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy holds a 55% approve to 35% disapprove rating. Unlike Biden, the current ratings for these three officeholders are similar to public opinion of their job performance one year ago.

“New Jersey is fundamentally a blue state.  The fact that Biden is doing so poorly here suggests he has lost enthusiasm among core constituencies in his own base,” said Murray.

The poll also asked New Jerseyans about moving up the state’s presidential primary in 2024. Just over half (52%) support shifting the primary from June to February to become among the first in the nation, while 34% are opposed to this move. Most Democrats (60%) and independents (53%) support this idea, but fewer Republicans (39%) back it.

“A shake-up of the nation’s presidential primary calendar is long overdue. New Jersey’s Democratic leadership has put in a bid to be among the first contests and most of the party’s rank-and-file are on board with that,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with 802 New Jersey adults.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 held for future release.]

[Q2-3 previously released.]

4.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

All adultsApril
2022
Approve45%
Disapprove50%
(VOL) No opinion5%
   (n)(802)
TREND: Registered votersApril
2022
Oct.
2021
Aug.
2021
May
2021
Approve47%43%51%55%
Disapprove49%49%41%40%
(VOL) No opinion4%8%9%5%
   (n)(738)(1,000)(810)(661)

[QUESTIONS 5 & 6 WERE ROTATED]

5.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bob Menendez is doing as United States Senator?

All adultsApril
2022
Approve42%
Disapprove38%
(VOL) No opinion20%
   (n)(802)
TREND: Registered votersApril
2022
Sept.
2021
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
 Approve44%43%46%44%37%40%
Disapprove39%35%38%38%45%45%
(VOL) No opinion17%22%16%18%18%15%
   (n)(738)(804)(661)(635)(651)(549)
TREND: Registered voters continuedApril
2018
July
2017
May
2016
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
Approve37%41%41%38%42%49%45%47%51%49%47%44%41%
Disapprove38%35%31%38%38%27%30%34%31%30%27%38%31%
(VOL) No opinion25%23%28%23%20%24%26%19%18%21%26%18%28%
   (n)(632)(758)(703)(453)(441)(712)(680)(717)(690)(690)(698)(694)(697)
TREND: Registered voters continuedApril
2012
Feb.
2012
Oct.
2011
Aug.
2011
May
2011
July
2010
Oct.
2008
April
2008
Jan.
2008
Approve40%41%43%38%46%38%34%41%37%
Disapprove25%26%29%33%28%33%25%31%25%
(VOL) No opinion35%33%28%29%26%29%41%28%37%
   (n)(692)(709)(693)(730)(725)(747)(900)(720)(698)

6.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Cory Booker is doing as United States Senator?

All adultsApril
2022
Approve53%
Disapprove32%
(VOL) No opinion15%
   (n)(802)
TREND: Registered votersApril
2022
Sept.
2021
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
Approve55%51%57%51%45%48%
Disapprove33%32%36%34%40%38%
(VOL) No opinion12%17%6%14%16%14%
   (n)(738)(804)(661)(635)(651)(549)
TREND: Registered votersApril
2018
July
2017
May
2016
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
Approve54%50%53%45%51%51%42%48%47%47%37%
Disapprove31%31%21%24%21%21%23%25%23%20%21%
(VOL) No opinion15%20%27%31%27%27%35%27%30%32%43%
   (n)(632)(758)(703)(453)(441)(712)(680)(717)(690)(690)(698)

7.Looking ahead to this year’s midterm elections, would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats in control of Congress, or doesn’t this matter to you? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED] [If DOES NOT MATTER: If you had to lean one way or the other would you pick the Republicans or the Democrats?]

 April
2022
Republicans 34%
Not matter, but lean Rep7%
Democrats 43%
Not matter, but lean Dem9%
Does not matter, no lean6%
(VOL) Don’t know0%
 (n)(802)

8.Some New Jersey leaders are looking to move the state’s presidential primary election in 2024 from June to February in order to be one of the first primaries in the nation.  Do you support or oppose moving up New Jersey’s presidential primary to be among the first in the nation?

 April
2022
Support 52%
Oppose34%
(VOL) Don’t know14%
 (n)(802)

[Q9-14 previously released.]

[Q15-45 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with a probability-based random sample of 802 New Jersey adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 280 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 522 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample).  For results based on this 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 (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). 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.

NJ Regions (by county)

North – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren

Central – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset

South – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
24% Republican
40% Independent
36% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
28% 18-34
34% 35-54
38% 55+
 
58% White
12% Black
19% Hispanic
11% Asian/Other
 
61% No degree
39% 4 year degree

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs